These sensor-packed fake eggs are helping revive endangered vulture populations

3d printed sensor packed eggs save vulture population screen shot 2016 04 at 3 36 49 pm
Conservationists are working with more technological innovations these days in the fight to protect the planet’s endangered species and their threatened habitats. One of their newest tools is EggDuino: a 3d-printed egg crafted specifically to look and feel just like the real egg a vulture might incubate in its nest. Each faux egg is disguised so that vultures will treat it like they would a viable egg of their own, while the sensors inside help conservationists understand the behaviors and habits of this endangered bird of prey.

So far, the EggDuino has been used at the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Gloucestershire, UK. The facility hosts a captive breeding program that holds much promise for the dwindling population of vultures around the world. But captive breeding presents challenges, because of the delicate balance of details required to replicate birds’ natural incubation processes.

To help overcome this obstacle, Microduino provided sensors to help detect temperature, humidity, and movement from within the EggDunio disguise. Tracking these measurable elements of incubation could help the Centre rear more healthy, happy birds of prey to boost their population numbers once again. The barometer, gyrometer,and acceleremoter all rely on a core microprocessor within the egg and a bluetooth transmitter that gets information from the vulture’s nests to a data terminal that conservationists can access.

3D-printed, sensor-packed faux eggs are helping save the vulture population
Microduino
Microduino

Disguising the sensor technology in a perfect replica of a vulture egg may seem cruel come hatching time, but in this case it’s the only way for scientists to collect such intimate data without disturbing the vultures’ natural habits. When videos of eagles swatting drones out of the sky and kangaroos punching camera-toting UAVs went viral, it became clear that remotely monitoring animal life with invasive, unfamiliar technology wasn’t going to work. Since vultures are likely to toss unfamiliar sensors out of the nest, the eggs are perfectly shaped with a textured nylon exterior to encourage vultures to feel comfortable and safe.

Data from vulture populations in other parts of the world may have to be collected by local teams, because temperature and humidity data changes can influence vulture incubation behaviors. Since the eggs are 3D-printed, anyone with access to a 3D printing device will be able to buy $200 worth of sensors and compose their own conservationist egg kit. In the future, EggDuino technology could even expand to other bird species, like eagles and kites (the birds, not the toys).

Emerging Tech

How pioneering pilot Jackie Cochran helped and hurt the Women in Space Program

Before Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, Jackie Cochran funded the Women in Space Program. The pioneering woman pilot never realized her dream of venturing into space.
Gaming

The best Nintendo Switch games, from Breath of the Wild to Rocket League

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Emerging Tech

Watch SpaceX’s parachute tests for its soon-to-be-manned Crew Dragon capsule

SpaceX is currently developing its Crew Dragon capsule to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Now, a new video shows the parachute systems for the capsules being tested.
Emerging Tech

A.I. cameras could help stomp out wildfires before they become disastrous

This summer marks one year since California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever. Could cutting-edge technology help avoid future incidents? One startup thinks so.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff! Here are all the moon missions happening in the next decade

The next 10 years are poised to be the most significant in lunar history in decades. What do we have to look forward to? Check out this handy guide to the coming decade of moon missions.
Emerging Tech

From the moon to mass production: 10 pieces of modern tech indebted to Apollo

This article is part of Apollo: A Lunar Legacy, a multi-part series that explores the technological advances behind Apollo 11, their influence on modern day, and what's next for the moon. You may have heard that freeze-dried food was…
Photography

50 years later, the first camera on the moon is still collecting lunar dust

The cameras aboard Apollo 11 captured some of history's most iconic images, including shots of Earth and footprints on the lunar surface. To commemorate the first moon landing, we look back at how Hasselblad's stripped shooters came to be.
Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 rover enters its final year of engineering before launch

The countdown has begun for the last year of development before the Mars 2020 launches between July 17, 2020 and August 5, 2020. Progress on finalizing the rover is right on track, according to NASA.
Emerging Tech

Could Mars’ now-barren Gale Crater lake have once supported life?

The Gale Crater is the site of an ancient lake which existed for millions of years. But even after the lake disappeared, groundwater could have remained for billions of years. Now, a team of scientists is searching for clues of life there.
Emerging Tech

Practically perfect in every way: Hubble shows galaxy with amazing symmetry

This week's Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 2985, located over 70 million light-years away. Hubble scientists describe NGC 2985 as having near-perfect symmetry, showing tightly wound spiral arms which converge in the center.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Wearable chargers and A.I.-enhanced keyboards

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Harvard University has a bold new plan to make Mars livable for humans

Want to live on Mars? Harvard researchers have a bold new way to make it happen. Their plan involves covering portions of Mars with an insulating aerogel. Here's why it could work.
Emerging Tech

China’s space station, Tiangong-2, has burned up in the atmosphere

China's space station, Tiangong-2, has burned up in the Earth's atmosphere as part of a planned deorbit. It was originally scheduled to be in space for two or three years, but it survived longer than expected and spent 1,000 days in space.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Artemis capsule is complete, will carry the first woman to the moon

The crew capsule which will carry American astronauts to the moon as part of the Artemis project has been completed. The completion of the Artemis 1 capsule was announced by Vice President Mike Pence.