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Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone

Bat Bot is a real flapping-wing drone modeled after our friend, the bat. It's amazing how biomimicry leads to extreme efficiency.


(It's fun to fly like a bat)

The Bat Bot is an example of biomimicry, where engineers and scientists make a machine directly inspired by nature. It’s also—as an unmanned flying machine—technically a drone, but one that doesn’t rely on multiple spinning rotors like a helicopter or a rigid fixed wing, like an airplane. Instead the three-ounce robot travels with a careful flapping motion, the membrane of its thin wings carrying it through the air like an actual bat.

Whenever I see flapping wing drones, I think of the tracer birds from Roger Zelazny's 1980 novel Changeling:

The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye and the parabola ear followed the dragon-riders north. A series of the larger fliers followed it at well-spaced intervals, to serve as relay points for the spy broadcasts...

The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread. Had there been an eye to observe them, it might not even have noted their minute, tropism-like pursuit of the sun across the sky as they recharged their batteries for the night's flight.
(Read more about Roger Zelazny's tracer birds

If I had read a bit more, I would have encountered the robot bird from Invader on My Back by Philip E. High, published in 1968.

Via PopSci.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/1/2017)

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