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With his findings published in the scientific journal, Nature Methods, Maho successfully engineered a way to get up-close and personal with a colony of Emperor penguins in Antarctica – a robot penguin! Attached to the robot is a fluffy stuffed animal chick that can fool almost any penguin … so long as they’re not paying attention to the wheels underneath it.
Though a few individuals snapped at the machine, the fake penguin was incredibly successful. It even had the opportunity to snuggle with a few penguin chicks huddling together in a circle.
The purpose of this robot was to record and collect health and population research while causing as little anxiety as possible among colony members. Equipped with an antenna, the little robot could also read updates from electronic ID tags that were given to some of the penguins prior to the rover’s introduction to the colony.
“When the rover was camouflaged with a penguin model, all adult and chick emperor penguins allowed it to approach close enough for an electronic identification,” the research team wrote.
“Scientists do not generally speak about disturbance they cause,” Maho told BBC News. “But I have always been very concerned with that – it relates to both science and ethics.”
Using this little guy scientists don’t have to worry about disturbing the penguins which is wonderful – plus it’s the cutest robot we’ve ever seen!