London: French researchers have developed a baby penguin robot to get up close and personal with penguins and study their behaviour.
The team from the University of Strasbourg tried about five different versions of the robots until they found the right one to study penguins in Adelie Land, Antarctica.
It was covered in grey fur, sported black arms, a painted black-and-white face and a black beak.
When it reached the penguin colony, Emperor penguins accepted the penguin rover as one of their own.
"Chicks were even heard vocalising at the camouflaged rover and it was able to infiltrate a penguin nursery without disturbance," said lead researcher Yvon Le Maho.
The rover crowded in with a group of chicks, acting as "a spy in the huddle".
The remote-controlled robot had dual antennas that helped scientists capture data from a wider area than a hand-held reader.
The paper appeared in the journal Nature Methods.