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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