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Re: Robot gull

A friend and fellow pterosaur-workeer sent a link to the same video; it is 
mighty impressive.

The only note I have, from a biological perspective, is that either the 
description of the dynamics in the article is inaccurate, or the robot is not 
flying altogether as much like a bird as it appears.  In particular, the tail 
in real birds does not act much like a rudder - the tail on the robot could be 
more akin to an airplane tail in its function (likely), or it could be that the 
writer on the press release misunderstood (also likely).  Either way, the take 
off is obviously not like a real animal.  Still, the flapping mechanics seem to 
be pretty close in many respects, and it is quite an achievement, regardless.


--Mike H.

On Mar 30, 2011, at 12:11 PM, Richard W. Travsky wrote:

> Very interesting video
> http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2011/03/robot-bird-soars-through-the-sky.html
> ...
> SmartBird is modelled on the herring gull and can take off, fly and land 
> while its flight is controlled remotely from the ground in real time.
> To take off, the robotic bird flaps its wings with the help of an onboard 
> motor. As the wings beat, the front edge also twists, enabling airflow 
> along the wings to generate thrust. Once in flight, the tail acts as a 
> rudder to steer the bird through the air.
> ...

Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Biology
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
Buhl Hall, Room 226A
(443) 280-0181