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DaVinci’s Dream Realized…For a Bird, Anyway March 25, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys.
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The SmartBird is an ultralight but powerful flight model from Festo.

Inspired by the herring gull, it can start, fly and land autonomously – with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings flap up and down, and can twist at specific angles using an articulated torsional drive unit.   Completely awesome technology, based on nature original aerodynamics.

Festo makes other robotic devices based on natural models.  I found their pneumatic muscle pretty fascinating, based on pulling against fibers rather than pressing against a piston.

Fluidic muscle

It’s a hollow elastomer cylinder embedded with aramid(?) fibers. When it fills with air, it increases in diameter and contracts in length.
The use of the fluidic muscle enables motion sequences which approach human movement in terms of kinematics, speed, strength and sensitivity.  The fluidic muscle can exert ten times the force of a comparably sized cylinder, is very sturdy, and can even be used under extreme conditions such as in sand or dust.

OK, now watch the video.  That thing is the ultimate spy tool.

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