Despite the advancement in flight, mankind’s fascination of how birds soar the skies have not stopped. We have seen several examples of robots mimicking real creatures. There had been dragonfly, hummingbird, seagull (not the ‘pooping’ stiff one, btw), and more recently a bat, and now Stanford University’s Lentink Lab took it further with a pigeon robot that uses real feathers.
The PigeonBot, as it is aptly called, is a morphing biohybrid robot that mimics a real avian creature’s wing morphing mechanism. PigeonBot holds the key to answering question on how birds fly through the air so effortless and efficiently, and turn, however tightly, at a moment’s notice.
However, unlike some research projects embark by other research organizations, PigeonBot is not life-like in appearance, or in the way it creates lift. As the study is focused on maneuverability, lift was not priority. However, it will need lift to let the bird-like wings to perform and hence, a propeller was used to do that.
While the contraption looks more like a school project, PigeonBot actually flew quite spectacularly. At the rate researches like this is going, it will be a matter of time before mankind unlocks the mystery of birds’ flight.
Having said that, I doubt what scientists and researchers eventually find will be applied to people-carrying aircraft. It will probably used in development of unmanned air vehicles like drones and the likes.
Images: Stanford University.