Not a year goes by lately without Festo coming out with some awesome new biomimetic toys, well, industrial automation really, but you can bet these will be in toy stores in some form within a year or two.
This time, they’ve created a bionic seagull, fully autonomous from takeoff to landing. It uses the same kind of active torsion to take advantage of vortices that flying animals use to get that extra edge in flight that has previously been hard to duplicate in man made devices. Turning is accomplished wit a tilt of the tail.
Rather than using lighter than air materials like in their past projects,the SmartBird frame is constructed from carbon fiber, polyeurathane foam and other lightweight but strong materials, yet they’ve still managed to keep it aloft even with the weight of the brains, batteries, motors, and even a radio transmitter. Video below.
For more technical specs, check out their pdf