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Amazing bird and electronic tags

Dr. Hafiz Rafique

We are living in a world of science and technology rather a world of gadgets and nanotechnology. In our daily life, we come across various electronic devices and gadgets fitted with electric sensors, miniature electronic tags, and magnetic tapes. For example, ATM cards at the banks, security alarm systems, mini electronic chips attached with expensive items at shopping malls, books fitted with microchips in the libraries, toys, airplanes, and many more. Anyhow, these mini electronic tags provide a lot of convenience and are entering almost in every field of life. The gadgets or devices, attached to tiny electronic chips, are operated by electrical energy which is obtained from the batteries or some other electric power sources.
These electronic devices, via built-in sensors, can emit and absorb electrical signals to communicate with the object under consideration. These devices are nothing without power (electrical energy).So, it is need of the hour to save energy and produce such electrical appliances or gadgets that could consume energy at a very slow rate.
A team of scientists at Lund University in Sweden has discovered a unique bird that can fly continuously for 10 months without touching the ground. This bird remains on the ground for about 2 months to enjoy the breeding period and then flies back into the air. This bird is actually a kind of swift and its 10-month straight flight is the longest flight of any bird.
The scientists, in their experiment, studied the flight behaviour of a group of 13 swifts. Each bird was attached with a very small lightweight (less than 1 gram) electronic tag at the back. This electronic tag can send data to the ground station whether the bird is in the air or not. The type of gadget used in the study regarding the flight behavior of the birds belongs to data logging technology. This technology can also help find the current location, speed and acceleration of the birds. The scientists have also discovered that the swifts also get new feathers while in the air. There is another astonishing fact associated with these birds that they travel millions of miles during their lifetimes (about 5.5 years) while flying between Europe and Africa during the season. The discovery of this amazing bird will definitely open new corridors to help understand the mechanism of energy consumption at a very slow rate or how energy can be stored for a very long time for such a long journey.
The discovery of the astonishing bird has been possible due to the invention of the miniature electronic tags. So, hats off to the electronic industry and the people working over there.

(The writer is Punjab University Physics Department Chairman and Member Syndicate on Associate Professor’s seat. He can be reached at: hafizrafique42b1@hotmail.com)

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