What you see in the above picture may look like a plastic-made seagull that has been pumped with air, but actually it's a flying robot. Dubbed as SmartBird, Festo's flying robot has been developed as a part of their 2011 Bionic Learning Network projects. Festo has a captivating history when it comes to developing robotic systems that are the integral parts of their Bionic Learning Network and exist in partnership with research groups and universities.
Normally, only the shape of a specific living creature is copied while designing a product and other details like its functionality are not exploited. Shunning all this is Festo, which makes every possible effort to incorporate both physical and functional details. This SmartBird derives inspiration from a herring gull. If you notice the flying robot’s movement carefully, you will observe it bends and twists just like a real bird flapping its wings up and down. The way a bird makes use of its wings and tail for a perfect flight, SmartBird makes apt use of its two meter-long wings for an ideal landing.
The whole structure that weighs below half a kilo is proficient enough for a take-off independently with all the suppleness intact. The light weight structure is possible just because of the minimalistic use of materials. With no supplementary drive mechanism SmatBird is a step ahead in the world of robotics, and that too the energy-efficient way.
Via: IEEE Spectrum