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Eagle-Inspired Robot Flies by Flapping Its Feather-Covered Wings

By New Scientist

March 11, 2021

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Researchers at China's Guangxi University and Chinese firm Bee-eater Technology were inspired by a golden eagle to build a robotic bird with flapping wings covered in actual feathers.

The ornithopter consists of a carbon-fiber framework connected by aluminum joints and three-dimensionally-printed plastic components, then clad in thin foam and layered with goose feathers.

The wings are powered by an electric motor, using a gearbox to reduce the output speed 48-fold and mimic the flapping rate of a large bird of prey.

Tests demonstrated that the ornithopter could successfully take off, fly for slightly more than 60 seconds, and land safely.

Guangxi University's Yu Cai said a realistic bird robot could find use in situations where an operator wants to blend in and conceal itself.

From New Scientist
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