Saturday, March 02, 2013

Zoo staff dress up in panda suits to test new webcams

Edinburgh  Zoo staff had to dress up as pandas to help set up a new webcam so viewers around the world could watch the animals in their enclosure. The staff roamed around the enclosure mimicking the movements of pandas to ensure the highly sensitive cameras were able to properly track the animals, named Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

Paul Murphy, of Indigo Vision who set up the webcam, explained: “We specialise in high-end, high-definition CCTV and video surveillance technology that senses a subject’s movement, focusing in on and tracking it. In most cases, this means tracking a person or vehicle; the programmes have been specially designed to pick up the movements of human beings or vehicles.

“To detect Tian Tian and Yan Guang, however, whose movements differ greatly from ours, the technology had to be recalibrated by men pretending to be pandas. So we had people dress up in panda suits to roam around the enclosure to allow our cameras to be optimised for their movements. Animals obviously move at completely different speeds and in different ways to human beings.”

YouTube link.

Jon-Paul Orsi, Digital Manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said "We are extremely excited to launch our all-new panda cams. Other than visiting in person, this is the next best way to follow the antics of Tian Tian and Yang Guang."

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