A new lifelike seagull robot is one of the most realistic bio-inspired flight machines we've seen. SmartBird takes off, flies and lands on its own, flapping its wings and turning its head and tail to steer. It is modeled on the herring gull and its appearance and movements are uncannily similar to the real thing.
Designed by the German firm Festo, which also brought us the elephant-trunk-inspired robotic arm and the autonomous robotic jellyfish, SmartBird is Festo's newest entry in its Bionic Learning Network program, which involves several universities in the U.S. and Europe and aims to use nature as a model for mechatronic systems.
The bird has a 6.5-foot wingspan, so it's much larger than a real gull, but it looks pretty much like the real thing.
Source: popsci.comAdded: 4 April 2011