The latest addition to the long line of the famous biomemetic robots of Festo is the SmartBird, a flying model that shares the same principal of operation with birds and in particular it is inspired from the herring gull. The SmartBird is lightweight and it can emulate very accurately the function of a bird even though it uses only a single electric motor and 4 servos. It has two interconnected rods that dictate the wing flapping movement and a servo located at each wingtip to actively twist the wing. Another pair of servos controls the 2doF tail and ‘head’. Birds are flying in a way closer to helicopters than airplanes and in a way they combine the benefits from both. Their wings follow a periodic reciprocating pattern that on its own creates the relative air velocity necessary for generating lift. This enables them to use their wing both for propulsion and lift while they can also take-off instantly and hover. When air velocity is high enough they are also able to hover without consuming any energy. The SmartBird can take-off and land autonomously. In-flight control is provided by the active twist of the wing (like the Flyer I of the Wright Brothers!) and the movement of the tail. You can read the official brochure from FESTO (pdf) or watch another video showcasing the inner workings of the SmartBird after the jump.