Adorable idea: London Zoo now livestreams its otters, turtles, and meerkats on YouTube

london zoo youtube livestream 1024px otters in a row
Photo by Magnus Manske on Wikimedia Commons
Ever wonder what all the critters in the zoo do after the visitors and staff are gone? The London Zoo, Google, and UK regulator Ofcom decided to find out, using TV White Space (TVWS) technology to create a YouTube livestream of a few of the zoo’s cutest animals.

The project, called Whitespaces for Wildlife, aims to raise awareness about the animals who receive care at the London Zoo and help researchers learn more about the animals’ behavior. The London Zoo will stream footage of the cute creatures to YouTube 24/7. This morning, we watched the otters playing in a bed of straw, while the meerkats poked their heads out over rocks like fluffy Jack-in-the-box toys. It was very therapeutic.

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Meanwhile, Ofcom hopes to test white space-enabled devices and figure out what radio spectrum is available for broadcasting without any interference. TVWS works on a part of the spectrum that was left blank as a buffer between different TV signals. It can also be the space left over after the transition to digital TV.

Other wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can only travel limited distances and suffer from interference. The radio waves used with TVWS technology can travel further and move through obstacles like walls more easily. Ofcom hopes to use the technology for a variety of applications, including the Oxford Flood Network, which notifies people of flood warnings, and to give boats access to broadband while at sea. TVWS technology will be first tested on ferries to the Orkney Islands.

But for now, it’s being used for a much more enjoyable purpose: watching otters, meerkats, and Galapagos turtles play.