The International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) recently expanded the scope of 3D printing technology to include the animal kingdom in the list of the beneficiaries. Using micro-controllers along with 3D printing, ICBP is trying to learn about an endangered species of vulture and what it needs to survive.
In a bid to prevent the extinction of the bird species, researchers have created 3D printed vulture eggs with hidden micro-controllers to pass off as real in a nest. ICBP partnered with Microduino for the venture, which specializes in Arduino compatible modules and micro-controllers.
After a lot of research and development, the Microduino team was able to produce a 3D printed vulture egg called EggDuino. The shell was made using SLS 3D printing with a PA2200 nylon material and contains a wood enclosure that holds the electrical components. The egg was then equipped with a Microduino core, a Bluetooth Low Energy module, a multisensor 10DOF module that included a gyroscope, accelerometer, a magnetic field strength sensor, and a barometer, fourteen DS18B20 temperature sensors, and a SHT21 humidity sensor. The egg module is powered by a 1800-miliampere/hour battery and is enabled with transmission of its data to a WiFi enabled Raspberry Pi.
When the 3D printed eggs are created and assembled, they are placed inside the vultures’ nests with the terminals placed away from the animals to receive data transmissions through Bluetooth. The terminal can also monitor weather conditions outside the nest and save its data. Using this innovative technology, researchers are able to use the printed eggs’ data to ascertain their temperature gradient.
Once the project is finalized, the ICBP will officially deploy its 3D printed eggs in India and Africa within the next month.
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