Catch a Bird on Tape?

flying bird

Image Credit: Flickr User mikebaird, via CC

Professor David Lentink and his students of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford are trying something new. They want to create spy drones to be as perfect as the birds of nature. Ever noticed a pigeon flying gracefully in the sky, over the buildings and in strong winds without falling down? That is how these people want the new spy robots to be.

The existing drones fall flat on the ground even if the air conditioner is on. So how do these engineers achieve what they want?

The team decided to learn from the best flyers, the birds. They captured the flight of different birds using a special ultra-high-speed Phantom camera that captures images 100 times faster than the human eye.

The studying of these detail images gives interesting insights to the team. For example, the precise shaking and twisting in a humming bird’s body before diving off a branch is something that they have just discovered now. The team is studying how the flight changes in the birds depending on if they are flying in the wind or clutter.

Prof. Lentink is hopeful that if they incorporate all this data in their robotic design then they will successfully get a good spy drone robot.

Spies in skies? So interesting :)



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