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penguins

A group of students from Heriot-Watt University have designed a special electronic egg which will help zookeepers monitor penguin incubation.

The Pengu Project features a 3D egg which will allow zookeepers to remotely monitor the temperature, humidity and motion of a penguin’s egg during the critical time of incubation.

The project will take place at Edinburgh Zoo, which houses colonies of gentoo, king, and rockhopper penguins.

Using interactive features, zookeepers will be able to observe in real-time and study useful historical information from sensors placed within the replica egg.

The data gathered by the egg will then be used by zookeepers to replicate this environment within their artificial incubators – making the process less intrusive for the penguin.

Professor Marc Desmulliez, Heriot-Watt University said: “This is a fantastic invention which will really benefit the penguins and zookeepers.

“Edinburgh Zoo is an ideal fit for the project because it’s home to Europe’s largest outdoor penguin pool and houses three different species of penguin.

“The students are getting a rare insight into the penguins’ behaviour whilst compiling this research and it’s great to work on something which will help conservation.”

Sean Meechan, senior bird keeper at Edinburgh Zoo said: “It’s very exciting to be a part of a project that will allow us to gather valuable data about our penguins and how they look after their eggs.

“This device will give us detailed information about the egg incubation period, without having to disturb the birds or their nests and will hopefully help us to replicate those conditions more closely if needed.”

Electrical engineering students, Boris Vriens, Liam Langedijk, Juan Borges and Adam Hussein are working alongside Professor Marc Desmulliez,  Dr Gerard Cummins and zookeepers on the project - taking place over the next few months.