New innovations with the help of 3D printing technology has stunned people all round the globe. It has shown a very huge impact in various fields e it medical, engineering, education, architecture, fashion and design, etc. Individuals and companies around the world are experimenting to find to applications for 3D printing. Most recently 3D printing as been used in preventing endangered wild life with 3D printed models of birds. Scientist are finding innovative ways to use 3D printing technology to research on and also are trying to same many endangered species. Most recently we wrote about the Threeding and Artec’s joint venture where they decided to 3D scan and 3D print models of 55 endangered species of birds.
The International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP)from UK is making efforts to learn more about the endangered species of vultures using 3D printing technology in effort to better understand the species lifestyle and what it needs to survive. Vultures are animals that feed on the carcasses of dead animals. Even though they might seem scare to some they are an integral part of the nature’s lifecycle. They help to stop from the spread of deadly diseases within the nature by consuming dead animals. However recently this important species has been declining in the Southeast Asia due to a drug given to cattle has been poisoning and leading to killing many birds.
Almost nearing extinction the ICBP is making efforts to save the lives of vultures. Researchers are finding significant information about their lifestyle, breeding behaviors and conditions by using 3D printed vulture eggs that are equipped with hidden micro-controllers. These electronic eggs are made in such a way that they can be passed unnoticed by the nesting vulture. ICBP entered into a joint venture with Microduino a company that’s specializes in Arduino compatible micro-controllers and modules to make the 3Dprinted electronic egg.
Creating the realistic looking vulture egg was not an easy task considering the fact that it needed to be equipped with many sensors to measure both the nest’s internal temperature as well as the temperature gradient across its surface, its barometric pressure, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, light intensity, and the egg’s movement and rotation. Apart from all these factors the egg was to be able to transmit information more remotely and at the same time operate without any human intervention for approximately 70 days without disturbing the vultures.
Post the research the Microduino team produces Eggduino, that was a 3Dprited vulture egg shell. The shell was made using SLS 3D printing nylon material (PA2200) and also contained of a laser-cut wood enclosure with electrical components. And lastly the egg was equipped with a Microduino core.
Finally the team equipped the aggressive with the Microduino core that is 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. It is powered by a 1,800-milliampere-hour lithium-ion battery, through which the egg modules can transmit their data to a terminal made up of a Wi-Fi enabled Raspberry Pi, a Bluetooth module, a real time-clock module, and a weather station module.
These 3D printed eggs are then placed in the vulture's nest where as the terminals are placed just at a distance that does not bother the vultures and close to the Bluetooth connected device to revive the data. The terminal monitors conditions outside the nest also saving its own data and the data coming from the nest itself. With the help of these 3D printed eggs each with a different ID researchers can visualize the real time surface temperatures Gradient of every single egg.
ICBP is further planning on deploying their 4D printed eggs in the next month in Africa or India. The reach will be targeting to find information about three of the most endangered species of vultures viz. the Oriental White-backed Vulture, the Long-billed Vulture, and the Slender-billed Vulture. Later if the project proves successful enough the same technology can be potentially be used not only to save th dwindling vultures populations but also in other conservation and environmental efforts as well.