Robot bird takes flight

Discuss

42 Responses to “Robot bird takes flight”

  1. alllie says:

    Well, at least you don’t have to worry about it flying away.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ain’t that something? :)

  3. waldorfsalad says:

    Sweet! Just a little more scaling up, and I can have my very own ornithopter!

    • Donald Petersen says:

      I wonder at what point scaling up loses its airworthiness. I’d love to see a Spruce Goose sized robo-bird.

      Y’know. Until it turns on its masters.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Here’s one that appears to be even bigger than that!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOj0nXpRqX8

        But it’s probably not what you had in mind.

      • Gulliver says:

        > Y’know. Until it turns on its masters.

        At least well have baby pictures. “And this is little Festo before it enslaved the human race. They bootstrap so quickly.”

        Unrelatedly, why does this make me think of Dune?

        Also, I wonder if any nearby birds had a serious WTF moment.

        Aaron

  4. D3 says:

    Beautiful! I wish Leonardo could see it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can it carry a coconut?

  6. archanoid says:

    “The technology could be used to design ‘stroke wing generators’ – devices that produce energy from water.”

    (Cynicism alert)

    Please…we all know there are men of means already salivating at the potential militarization of this technology. Talk about your angry birds.

  7. Ito Kagehisa says:

    How sad that Crawford Greenwalt didn’t live to see this. He was fascinated by birds and wanted to leave a significant portion of his millions to research the mechanical aspects of bird flight. I don’t think he ever found anyone willing to commit to his behest; the Academy turned him down because the Ornithology department at the time was obsessively focused on DNA phylogeny.

    This thing is a true ornithopter, but it seems more like a bat than a bird to me, despite its shape. As I understand it, birds constantly tweak the positions of individual feathers, creating a more complex and dynamic airfoil than this.

  8. JIMWICh says:

    Change it from a seagull to a pterodactyl, scale it up to Jonny Quest size, and give it that horrific echoing shriek.

    Then we can don our jetpacks, grab our bazookas, and commence the most awesome real life re-creation OF ALL TIME!

  9. Cassandra says:

    They have a contest for ideas in wafer photovoltaics, but the deadline unfortunately has just passed. BEST PRIZES EVER: http://fen.festo.com/info/ideacontest/prizes

  10. Anonymous says:

    From a purely visual perspective — just watching the motion — what amazes is how realistic it looks, and at the same time how far it falls short of a real bird’s grace.

  11. Anonymous says:

    this thing would make a wicked inconspicuous spy bird, as long as it flew high enough and was powered with some super long life batteries.

  12. ackpht says:

    DARPA calling.

  13. spleen says:

    From the video it appears to have a mass relationship to the air approaching to a goldfish in water, which suggests that it is supported by helium. Nonetheless, the mechanical wing structure is the most impressive element and surpasses the ornothopter in mechanical design by one dimension. Looking forward to when they make mechanical cubics rather than quadratics to get some life like swimming motions also.

  14. deSelby says:

    Shiny! Me want.

  15. phisrow says:

    Inconceivable.

    While admittedly a clever piece of machinery, such a device could never pass the Turn Test.

  16. Cassandra says:

    They have a contest for ideas in wafer photovoltaics, but the deadline unfortunately has just passed. BEST PRIZES EVER: http://fen.festo.com/info/ideacontest/prizes

  17. leharrist says:

    Festo also made the amazing remote controlled jellyfish that flies through the air. Viva the AirJelly!

    http://www.talkingscience.org/2011/03/flight-of-the-airjelly/

  18. Crispinus211 says:

    Forget alternative energy. I want a wing suit!

  19. igpajo says:

    Da Vinci would be proud!!

    @Ugly Canuck…That’s just jumped to the top of my must see list!!

    • Donald Petersen says:

      That’s just jumped to the top of my must see list!!

      OMG, me too! Let’s double-date down to the Santee Twin Drive-In!

      Great Caesar’s Ghost, U.C., how do you find these wonderful, wonderful things?

  20. ablebody says:

    ..and it drops solder on your windshield.
    poopjoker2.1 beta

  21. victorvodka says:

    it’s amazing that someone could build something so cool while having that particular taste in muzak.

  22. RedShirt77 says:

    That is very cool, probably pretty expensive.

    How big is its onboard computer?

  23. BookGuy says:

    Robot flying in the dead of night
    Take these plastic wings and learn to fly
    All your life
    You were only waiting for a battery to arrive

  24. asbuuu says:

    This is pretty stunning stuff. But there are some caveats that aren’t noticeable from the video:

    It has a 2 meter wingspan. It’s huge! And it only weighs about a pound, so this thing is more like a giant actuated kite.

    Their previous robots like the Jelly, used helium to help lift it up. This is big enough to have helium as well, and they don’t say if they are using it.

    Nonetheless, bravo. I want one, now. Immediately.

  25. Anonymous says:

    What came first William Gibson’s shiny metallic penguin surveillance drone in “Zero History” or Festo’s robots?

    • Anonymous says:

      Gibson said in an interview that he was inspired by Festo’s robots. By the way, Festo also makes some pretty ridiculously German power tools that my old boss was fond of: http://www.festool.com/

    • Nicky G says:

      “What came first William Gibson’s shiny metallic penguin surveillance drone in “Zero History” or Festo’s robots?”

      Considering he refers to them in Zero History specifically AS “the Festo Air Penguin” I’m going to guess it was the…. Festo Air Penguin. :-)

      When I first read Zero History, I thought it was purely of his imagination. I decided to Google it, and still couldn’t quite believe the unbelievable videos I found online. I figured it must be some viral Zero History marketing thing.

      Upon doing more research and realizing that is was all REAL, I kind of had a mini flip-out (the kind I enjoy terribly) and realized that yes, we do, officially, live in “The Future.” :-D The fact that Gibson can write sci-fi novels that are quite believable, and take place in the present-tense — well shit, I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was about 13 years old in 1991, or about then, when I first read Neuromancer, and read Mondo 2000. If memory serves, Boing Boing the ‘zine was out about then, too. Yeah…. I was kind of a geeky little kid. :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Not much of a mystery, considering the name Festo appears throughout the (imo really good) book, and they have been around for at least a couple of years now.

  26. nixiebunny says:

    Never before has a robot looked so much like the animal it imitates, both in its shape and its motion. It’s so refreshing to see a machine fly like a real bird instead of with a propeller.

    Now it’s only a matter of time till Hitchcock’s movie is remade with 2-meter wingspan robot birds attacking the populace.

  27. 2k says:

    To the Ornithopter!

  28. Muse says:

    I have been following Festo for a while. They have some pretty cool robotic animals. I love this nature-inspired design approach. We surely have a lot to learn from systems of locomotion that have been robustly tested over millions of years through natural selection. I had noticed that a lot of the previous robot videos, used tests that mostly took place indoors or in windless conditions. I am impressed to see this one has some footage outside, but I wonder how adaptable this robot really is in windy conditions.

  29. seanwilliams says:

    So birds have an uncanny valley too?

    Otherwise, way cool.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Meh! A real bird would have flown into one of those windows

  31. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of Robert Sheckley’s Watchbirds. I’m scared.

  32. tylerkaraszewski says:

    It has a 2 meter wingspan. It’s huge! And it only weighs about a pound, so this thing is more like a giant actuated kite.

    A real herring gull has a 120-150cm wingspan and weighs 800-1200grams.

    So, that’s 1.2-1.5 meters compared to 2, and 1.75-2.75lbs to 1. It’s not like it’s off by orders of magnitude or anything.

    I want one, where can I order it?

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