Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane… no it’s a bionic bird. Wait, it’s a bird robot. It’s Smartbird, a robot bird that mimics the flight of a seagull perfectly. But this is not a toy. It is the latest in a series of bionic robots based on nature’s engineering. Festo’s Bionic Learning Network has been creating technology based on how animals do things for years, in an effort to push the frontiers of engineering and technology towards sustainability and they are doing it very well.
The smartbird flies and glides like the real thing, using a single drive system and a unique communication system that passes information from the robot to an offboard computer. Like the elephant trunk-like grasping arms, flying penguins, and floating jellyfish bots that Festo has developed in the past, Smartbird will have practical applications for humans as well as machines.
Festo’s Bionic Learning Network is an important research tool, enabling the company to pursue its aim of developing innovations for higher productivity, reduced cost and energy effieciency. By studying nature and developing bots which mimic nature, Festo is able to implement energy effiecient, sustainable solutions to the engineering problems, large and small, of the twenty-first century.
To put it more succinctly: Smartbird rocks. Check out both of the videos below to see Smartbird in action