Keep Calm and Carrion

3D Printed Eggs Could Save Vultures from Extinction

3D Printed Eggs

Vultures are a critically endangered species, but with these 3D printed eggs there’s a solution to help them to survive and thrive.

The International Center for Birds of Prey (ICBP) in the UK are hoping that by using 3D printing and micro-controllers, they can get a better understanding of vultures in the wild.

Although you may be finding it hard to sympathize with vultures, especially considering they eat the carcasses of both dead and diseased animals, they are pretty important in nature’s life cycle.

One African species in particular are the focus of conservationists, and to do this, they have 3D printed vulture eggs which are made to simulate the same shape, weight and feel of the real eggs.

What makes these eggs so special is that they have sensors inside to gather data on the bird’s complicated incubation process. So far, researchers at the ICBP have already begun testing these faux eggs on captive vultures.


Go to Work on a 3D Printed Egg

Of course, it is important for the eggs to go unnoticed by a nesting vulture, and so the ICBP teamed up with Microduino for design and development.

To create the shell of the egg, they used SLS 3D printing out of a nylon material. This then held a laser-cut wood enclosure which contained the electrical components.

Impressively, the egg contains a Microduino core, a Bluetooth Low Energy module, a multisensor 10DOF module, accelerometer, a magnetic field strength sensor, and a barometer. It also contains fourteen DS18B20 temperature sensors, and a SHT21 humidity sensor too.

The egg modules can also transmit their data to a terminal made up of a wifi enabled Raspberry Pi, and it is powered by a 1,800-milliampere-hour lithium-ion battery.

The eggs are then placed inside the vultures’ nests, while the terminals are placed just outside the nests to not bother the birds, but also close enough to pick up the Bluetooth connection.

If these field tests prove successful, then technology used by Microduino and the ICBP could potentially be used in other conservation and even environmental efforts as well. The ICBP are now planning on deploying their 3D printed eggs in Africa, and potentially India too.

(Via: Wired)