Advanced as technology has been in recent years, there has yet been a sophisticated enough technology to mimic the locomotors of birds.
The most recent trial to imitate the class aves comes from the efforts of researchers from Stanford in a project they have called ‘PigeonBot’.
In its current phase, the PigeonBot is in its very early stages looking nothing more than a school project. Specifically, much attention was given to how the dynamics of bird’s wings work. Contrary to popular belief, there is still much we do not know about how wings work.
David Lentik, the mechanical engineering professor of the project told his students to “dissect the biomechanics of the avian wing morphing mechanism and embody these insights in a morphing biohybrid robot that features real flight feathers,” with the pigeon as the primary model because of resilient traits.
The researches found that feathers are primary factors in bird’s ability to fly. he team found that tiny microstructures on the feathers form a sort of one-way Velcro-type material that keeps them forming a continuous surface rather than a bunch of disconnected ones.
Eric Chang, one of the lead student in the research used a total of 40 pigeon feathers to create the PigeonBot. The difference though is that the robot uses a propeller on the front to derive its lift instead of from the feathers.
In summary of the research, they found that both the PigeonBot and the pigeon used their “wrist” when the wing was partly retracted, and “fingers” when extended, to control flight.
The last update given was by Mr. Lentik saying that they are working out ways to develop a tail to partner with the wing that would result in a probable better flight for PigeonBot.