A Robot That Flies with the Grace of a Bird: A Great TED Flight

The dream of flight fired the imagination of Leonard da Vinci in the early sixteenth century. In designing his famous flying machines, the painter, sculptor, architect, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist  – ah heck, let’s just call him a Renaissance man — closely studied the mechanics of birds in flight, noting the elegant ways in which they turn and glide. Centuries later the Wright Brothers got us off the ground, but never with equal grace. It has taken a long time, but finally engineers at the German company, Festo, have found a way to mechanically reproduce the beauty of birds in flight. They call their robot the SmartBird, and they showed it off last year at TED.



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  1. bigjohn756 says . . . | January 20, 2012 / 2:13 pm

    I want one! Smaller though so I can fly inside my house. Probably wouldn’t cost more that a few hundred thousand dollars either at this point.

  2. Taylor Goldblatt says . . . | January 20, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    those TED conferences are amazing

  3. Margaret-Rose STRINGER says . . . | February 6, 2012 / 11:07 am

    One bitter complaint, amongst all this marvellous animated footage: NO SHUTTLE. No wonderful, amazing, enthralling Shuttle. I weep for the loss of it, in this video, as well.

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