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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