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SmartBird: A Robot That Actually Flies Like a Bird [Random Tech Video]

Bobby Travis

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

A Robot That Actually Flies Like a Bird [Random Tech Video] | 40Tech

TED is a home for amazing things. If you’ve never been to TED.com, you should make it a point to go and spend a mini web-vacation there. Hell, spend a couple a week — it’s worth it! Their slogan is “Ideas worth spreading,” and I have yet to run into something on the site that defies that message. The awesome that I happened across this week (thanks to Pamela D Lloyd sharing a Rick Vlaha post on Google+) has made the hallowed halls of my “that was so freakin’ cool!” list.

A robot bird. Scratch that. A robot bird that looks and moves and flies like a real live bird! Holy, unmitigated awesome, Batman! The Wright Brothers’ and Da Vinci’s head would explode if they could see this.

The bird is inspired by the Herring Gull, and is the product of the genius of Markus Fischer and his Bionic Learning Network team at German technology company, Festo. There are no propulsion systems other than the flapping of the robot bird’s own wings, and its movements are so realistic, that it is likely that some audience members it flew over (twice) were thinking they should be covering their heads and getting under cover. This amazing creation is called SmartBird, and is also remarkable for the simple fact that the robot weighs only 450 grams.

Watch the video. Your brain will fall out your ear. 

If you don’t want to click the link (WordPress won’t let me embed the TED video), check out the YouTube video below that was taken by an audience member during the bird-bot’s first fly-over. It gets right to the point.

 

Here’s another — even real birds can’t tell the difference: 

 

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