Aaron Saenz in Singularity Hub:
The latest addition to the robotic zoo moves so gracefully you can hardly believe it’s a machine. Festo’s Bionic Learning Network has been creating robots based off of nature’s biological secrets for years now, but their SmartBird is a step ahead of the game. Modeled after a seagull, the SmartBird uses a single drive system for flight – but that simple system is enough for the robot to take off, maneuver, and land autonomously. Using Zigbee radio communication, the SmartBird continuously passes information on its flight to an off-board computer that tracks, and improves, its movements. The result is a robot that seems to glide as smoothly and easily as the real thing. It’s pretty amazing to watch it in action. Check out the SmartBird in the video below, followed by an animation that gives you a peak inside its frame. Festo’s biologically inspired engineering may help catapult the field of robotics years ahead.
More here. [Thanks to Moshe Behar.]