Germany's Festo wowed the audience at TEDGlobal 2011 in Scotland recently by showing off its flying robot seagull.
The bird is made of carbon fiber and polyurethane foam, weighs about 1 pound, and has a wingspan of some 6.5 feet.
It contains a microcontroller, four servo drives, and a lithium polymer battery. Its wings move in a split-stage helical transmission, and their positions are monitored with sensors that relay data to ground operators via a radio link.
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The audience at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre applauded when the gull was hand-launched, tentatively flapping its wings and then beating the air to circle above the auditorium.
When it obediently returned to its handlers, it got a standing ovation, and again after a second demonstration. Check it out in the video below. … Read more