Festo’s researchers announced the creation of a new bionic project called BionicSwift. The machine bird can fly with artificial feathers. Using radio-based indoor GPS and ultra-broadband technology, the researchers modeled the feathers of real birds, allowing mechanical birds to fly safely in a coordinated mode in a regulated airspace.
The structural core of the robot bird is lightweight. Low weight is important because the less weight you move, the less material you need. Bionic Swift weighs 42 grams, has a body length of 44.5 cm and a wingspan of 68 cm. The designer says this ratio makes the robot bird very agile and flexible.
The bird can fly around and make tight turns. The designer created the wings of the Bionic Swift model as close to the natural wings and bird feathers as possible. Individual flakes are made of very lightweight, flexible but very sturdy foam that overlaps each other. The feathers are attached to a carbon plume and attached to the actual wing. When punched on the wings, the flakes spread out and then closed when they were punched, providing the flying robot with more powerful flight capabilities.
Designers say the design of the approximate reproduction of the actual bird’s wings allows BionicSwift to fly better than the previous wing drive. Inside the body of a robotic bird, there are the mechanisms required for wing edging, communication technology, control components, tail fins, brushless motors, two servo systems, batteries, gear units and various circuit boards.
The flight of the mechanical bird is coordinated with ultra-broadband technology using radio-based in-house GPS. The team installed multiple radio modules in space to form fixed anchorpoints, locate each other, and define controlled airspace. The system can use pre-programmed paths to plan and determine the route and flight path of birds. Robotic birds can modify flight paths autonomously without human input.