SmartBird Robotic Bird In Flight

SmartBird is a flapping wing robot that mimics the flight of the herring gull. Weighing just 500 grams, it can take off, fly and land while controlled remotely.


(Festo robotics video)

SmartBird is an ultralight but powerful flight model with excellent aerodynamic qualities and extreme agility. With SmartBird, Festo has succeeded in deciphering the flight of birds – one of the oldest dreams of humankind.

This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously – with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles. This is made possible by an active articulated torsional drive unit, which in combination with a complex control system attains an unprecedented level of efficiency in flight operation.

Science fiction fans recall this iconic scene from the 1982 Ridley Scott movie Blade Runner, which shows an artificial owl flying across the office suite of the Tyrell corporation. It refers to the artificial animals in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the 1968 novel by Philip K. Dick.

From Festo via New Scientist.

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