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Jonathan Livingston Robot

Jonathan Livingston Robot

It is a thing of beauty to watch this two meter wingspan carbon fiber robotic bird fly. Using a process that the makers call, “active articulated torsion drive”, the bird can twist and flex its body and sections of the wing and tail that give it a birdlike flight capability. Zigbee wireless communications allow the pilot to operate servo motors powered by a lithium battery and handled by a 32-bit microcontroller. Watch the video linked below to see this amazing bird in graceful flight.

Festo – SmartBird – [youtube.com]

SmartBird – bird flight deciphered – [festo.com]

Aerodynamic lightweight design

SmartBird is an ultralight but powerful flight model with excellent aerodynamic qualities and extreme agility. With SmartBird, Festo has succeeded in deciphering the flight of birds – one of the oldest dreams of humankind.

This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously – with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles. This is made possible by an active articulated torsional drive unit, which in combination with a complex control system attains an unprecedented level of efficiency in flight operation. Festo has thus succeeded for the first time in creating an energy-efficient technical adaptation of this model from nature.

Aerodynamic lightweight design with active torsion – [festo.com]

Bird flight deciphered
In 2011, the engineers of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network developed a flight model that is capable of taking off autonomously and rising in the air by means of its flapping wings alone, without the aid of other devices to provide lift. SmartBird flies, glides and sails through the air.

The experience gained with the Bionic Learning projects AirRay and AirPenguin was incorporated into the creation of SmartBird. The objective of the project was to construct a bionic bird modelled on the herring gull. The fascination of building an artificial bird that could take off, fly and land by means of flapping wings alone provided the inspiration for SmartBird’s engineers. Moving air in a specific manner is a core competence of Festo that has been a driving force for the company for more than fifty years.

The unusual feature of SmartBird is the active torsion of its wings without the use of additional lift devices. The objective of the SmartBird project was to achieve an overall structure that is efficient in terms of resource and energy consumption, with minimal overall weight, in conjunction with functional integration of propulsion and lift in the wings and a flight control unit in the torso and tail regions. Further requirements were excellent aerodynamics, high power density for propulsion and lift, and maximum agility for the flying craft. Under scientific supervision, an intelligent cybernetic overall design was realised in discrete individual stages.

SEE ALSO:
Hummingbird Drones
Personal Aerial Drones
Homebrew UAV

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