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Sheep Fitted With Cameras Are Mapping the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands—a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark that sits halfway between Norway and Iceland—are beautiful, but they’re also remote and filled with more sheep than people. Not surprisingly, Google Street View hasn’t arrived there yet. That’s why a team of islanders decided to launch their own quirky mapping project, called Sheep View 360, The Guardian reports.

The project's organizers decided to tap the islands’ most abundant animal resource by fitting five sheep with 360-degree cameras, which are mounted on special harnesses and powered by solar panels. As the sheep roam the island, pictures are sent back to islander Durita Dahl Andreassen, a member of tourism group Visit Faroe Islands. She then uploads them to Google Street View.

Sheep View 360 was launched to promote island tourism, but it’s also part of a campaign to convince Google to finish the project for them. Visit Faroe Islands even launched a petition and coined the hashtag #wewantgooglestreetview. So far, Google hasn’t commented, although it's important to note that people can apply to borrow Google’s camera equipment and create their own Street View tours.

The mapping endeavor began in April, Mashable reports. It's ongoing, and so far Sheep View 360 has captured panoramic images of five island locations. You can check out a video of their efforts above or view more sheep footage on YouTube.

[h/t The Guardian]

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This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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