Mother Nature has created perfect organisms that adapt to all kinds of conditions and environments, which is why engineers often draw on her to create robots. At the Festo company they do it often, especially when creating flying robots.
One of the latest creations from this company is a bionic bird named BionicSwift, and it is truly impressive. It is equipped with wings that imitate the plumage of birds, as you can see a little further down in the video, it is capable of flying like real birds.
Specifically, Festo engineers have been inspired by swallows, and for their design they have focused on the use of lightweight structures such as those of their biological model. “In both technology and nature, one thing is certain: the less you have to move, the lower the material costs and energy consumption will be,” the company explains on its website.
The wings are made with “feathers” made from overlapping sheets of ultralight and flexible foam, but at the same time very robust. When the robot flaps its wings upwards, the blades open to allow air to enter, and when it flaps them down, they close to fly with greater power, just as happens with birds in the wild.
In the body of the robot is located the mechanism that allows flapping the wings, as well as the communication technology and the control speakers for flapping. The rudder is located on the tail. All the components necessary for operation and control are inserted in a minimum space and their weight is very light. Thanks to this, the bionic bird only weighs 42 grams with 44.5 centimeters of wingspan.
The robot equips an indoor wireless GPS with ultra-wideband technology that enables flight in controlled airspace, defined by installing a series of wireless modules in a room. In this way it is possible to plan routes to indicate to the birds their flight path.
In the event that external agents deviate the robot from its route, it is able to react autonomously to correct the trajectory without the need for human intervention.
The practical applications of the BionicSwift can be very varied. They can be used, for example, to transport materials and optimize land use within a factory.