A Barcode Scanner for Animals?

If you are a scientist and your job is to study and track zebras, you can imagine how much of a pain in the ass it can be to keep track of each individual zebra. I mean, they all more or less look alike so keeping track of one would require tagging and GPS and a whole lot of attention paying.

Well, you need pay attention no longer! A team of scientists has developed a system called “Stripespotter.” What is Stripespotter? It’s a barcode scanner… for animals. But you don’t have to take the scanner up to the zebra and give it a zap. All you have to do is take a picture of the zebra (or giraffe, tiger, or any other animal with identifiable markings) with a digital camera, then scan the image and upload it into the Stripespotter software. Once the program has scanned an animal, it’s saved in the database and can be referenced when you upload new images.

Nifty? I think so. This software can be used by researchers to keep track of individual animals when they could otherwise get lost in large groups of similar-looking animals.

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