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What's that, up in the sky?
March 25, 2011 10:18 PM   Subscribe

An Ornithopter Drone That Actually Looks Like a Bird
posted by cthuljew (59 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think this is really cool! Watch those coffin-rockers use it for something evil...
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:31 PM on March 25, 2011


Really cool. What noise does it make?
posted by HeroZero at 10:32 PM on March 25, 2011


How does it know how to interact with the changing winds and things? And how does it land?
posted by Mizu at 10:37 PM on March 25, 2011


I assume it's remote controlled. But the fact that it flies it all is enough for me.
posted by cthuljew at 10:41 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is really awesome. There are times when advanced technology is almost poetic.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:41 PM on March 25, 2011


Following the vias backwards, there is a little more info here.
posted by agentofselection at 10:46 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pretty cool. Doesn't look like a bird, though.
posted by rtha at 10:48 PM on March 25, 2011


See also, pdf brochure.
That thing is bigger than the video led me to expect!
posted by agentofselection at 10:48 PM on March 25, 2011


AeroVironment has a hummingbird UAV, colored to look like a hummingbird.
posted by mnemonic at 10:51 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


How can that be so unbelievably cool looking and also so awkward looking at the same time?
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:54 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I assume it's remote controlled. But the fact that it flies it all is enough for me.

"This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously – with no additional drive mechanism", says the infobox under the video.
posted by kenko at 10:55 PM on March 25, 2011


Also, I really want to see a flock of them.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:55 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


cthuljew, the panopticon tag might be appropriate here.
posted by finite at 11:05 PM on March 25, 2011


That's really amazing. I think the best thing about the technology is that it costs 0 mana to make.
posted by codacorolla at 11:08 PM on March 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


In related news: Pterodactyls have been seen flying over Iran.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 11:17 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I really want to see a flock of them.

That would be a beautiful thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 PM on March 25, 2011


6-foot wingspan. Keep clear of this beast.
posted by stbalbach at 11:35 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want this parrot.
posted by clavdivs at 11:52 PM on March 25, 2011


The AirPenguin is awesome.
posted by clavdivs at 11:55 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's exactly how I pictured the ornithopters in Frank Herbert's Dune.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:56 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doesn't look like a bird, though.

I see your an experienced bird viewer. As a self-avowed non bird looker myself, I can say this does look a lot like a bird, to my untrained eyes. It does appear slightly dead, even though it's moving, much like a dead moving bird.
posted by stbalbach at 11:57 PM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


He took a duck in the face at 250 knots.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 12:17 AM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


He took a duck in the face at 250 knots.

I just finished that book. This flying bird-like thing is more lifelike.
posted by maxwelton at 12:52 AM on March 26, 2011


Oh great KILL ALL BIRDS NOW
posted by jimmythefish at 1:47 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now if they could power it with garbage, the transformation would be complete.
posted by ryanrs at 1:53 AM on March 26, 2011


SmartBird.setPining(new TheFjords());
posted by Harry at 2:07 AM on March 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


do you like our owl?
posted by lapolla at 2:12 AM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


It'll be years before we realize F.E.S.T.O. is actually an acronym for an evil-sounding organization (it's always the case).
...they are using this to explore ideas and initiatives which go beyond the core business of automation and didactics and may lead to future products and product areas, currently these projects involve their new line of pneumatic actuators. Some of these projects are the Aqua Jelly, AquaPenguin, the Aqua Ray, Airic’s arm, and the Airacuda.
By the time they've developed Aqua Man and Air Man, it'll be all over.
posted by lemuring at 2:36 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watch for wormsign!

(Why yes, I do say this in any thread involving ornithopters. What do dead horses have to do with ornithopters?)
posted by kmz at 2:45 AM on March 26, 2011


0/2
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:22 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, fine. There's this thing, those dead-eyed Geminoid things... clearly I need to have a shotgun handy at all times now. The future is here, and it looks like a bad Arnie movie.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 4:22 AM on March 26, 2011


Have they solved the problems of gust rejection and hover, or is this just another ornithopter robot?
posted by indubitable at 5:16 AM on March 26, 2011


In another life I would have the chops to get a job at Festo. They have a location up the street, if you consider the 401 corridor between Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo "up the street."
posted by clvrmnky at 5:38 AM on March 26, 2011


So how does the whole nest-building thing work?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:57 AM on March 26, 2011


The bird looks awkward in flight. But the Festo AirJelly is graceful. Youtube link.
posted by jjj606 at 6:05 AM on March 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


You think that's cool? Wait till it poops on your car. It is way less cool then - tiny bits of kevlar, ball bearings, and grease can do some major damage to your paint.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:09 AM on March 26, 2011


Nifty. It's hard to get a sense of what it looks like because it's impossible to tell when the vid is slomo. I wonder if it can soar. Seagulls can go a long way without flapping -- climbing a thermal then gliding away. Or appearing to hover motionless beside a moving boat.
posted by Jode at 6:29 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


That AirJelly is cool, but I would hate to see it up against even the mildest breeze.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:20 AM on March 26, 2011


Cool YouTube video, but the potential for this to make birds into a military target is extremely disturbing.
posted by mattn at 7:32 AM on March 26, 2011


I'm really jealous of the corporate culture here. I'm sure this cost them a couple engineers for a year and a few tens of thousands of dollars, but it's great advertising. The bird (and the other projects) are as close to my mechanical design ideal* than anything I've seen. They make me want to buy Festo products (or get a job in Festo's cool-robots division).

*no more parts/material than necessary, performs a task better than anything before (with the aid of new technology), symmetric, shiny.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:44 AM on March 26, 2011


Popular Ethics, I discovered Festo tools before I saw their videos of cool tech. The tools are insanely expensive and worth every penny. The videos make me glad to support them by buying insanely expensive tools.
posted by straw at 7:49 AM on March 26, 2011


Show me your RAGE!

it's a metal gear solid 4 reference
posted by fuq at 8:10 AM on March 26, 2011


That's really fascinating to watch, and depressing to realize that it will probably be used for military applications somehow.
posted by immlass at 8:13 AM on March 26, 2011


OK, so 2 magic references in this thread... What card is that supposed to reference?
posted by symbioid at 8:34 AM on March 26, 2011


symbioid, Ornathopter.
posted by Richard Daly at 8:42 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


much like a dead moving bird.
Yes. Dead bird flying. It's triggering my avian uncanny valley, eeeee.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:08 AM on March 26, 2011


Super, super cool. That said, it somehow lacks the effortless elegance of a real bird (for entirely understandable reasons); watching it fly is a bit... exhausting. And it makes me tense, the way watching certain amateur performers can.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:14 AM on March 26, 2011


This product brought to you by obscene lifting surface/weight ratios. It is made of carbon fiber, has a 6-foot wing span, and weighs a pound. That is 33% larger than an actual herring gull, but 66% lighter. How the fuck do real birds manage this shit?
posted by agentofselection at 11:24 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


straw, I don't think Festo and Festool are the same company.
posted by ryanrs at 11:53 AM on March 26, 2011


ryanrs, the branding change from Festo to Festool happened circa 2000. I'm not sure if at that point the Festool brand was spun off to TTS Tooltechnic Systems AG & Co. KG company, or if Festo, now mostly known for factory automation systems, still owns a good portion. My impression was the latter.
posted by straw at 12:14 PM on March 26, 2011


Where are the two little Japanese girls, though?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:14 PM on March 26, 2011


Huh. Thanks for that straw. Big Festool fan here and had never realized there was a Festo connection.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:29 PM on March 26, 2011



Doesn't look like a bird, though.

Not so much in that video. But doing 30mph at a thousand feet? I wonder.
posted by notreally at 2:37 PM on March 26, 2011


agentofselection: How the fuck do real birds manage this shit?

Muscles are a lot better at this kind of thing than any electronically controlled actuator. The Festothopter is probably using something like ordinary servos, which draw power even when just holding position. The Herring Gull can fly thousands of miles without refuelingeating; I doubt if the Festothopter could fly for more than an hour if that.

Muscles can hold position without significant energy expenditure, and also recover energy dynamically by their elasticity. If you really want to make a pile of money, invent synthetic muscles.
posted by localroger at 3:36 PM on March 26, 2011


localroger, that and finding a sufficiently energy-dense power source.
posted by indubitable at 4:17 PM on March 26, 2011


localroger, they're working on it
posted by symbioid at 4:35 PM on March 26, 2011


Pretty cool. Doesn't look like a bird, though.
I, on the other hand, think it looks remarkably birdlike, as do most other commenters.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:38 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't look like my mental picture of the ornithoptors in Frank Herbert's Dune. I think at sufficient distance is pretty bird-like. What I would LOVE to personally own is one of those fake hummingbirds. They are actually pretty cute.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:40 PM on March 26, 2011


Was this company founded by Manny? I've heard of this Manny Festo guy before somewhere.
posted by Goofyy at 10:02 PM on March 26, 2011


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