Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
07/26/16 11:17 PM
Robot Birds..... are coming.....

Interesting article on the Audubon site.....

- Reams -

Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
07/27/16 12:19 AM
Re: Robot Birds..... are coming.....

Interesting, but I noticed he seemed to side-step the question of efficiency. He implies that his is better than fixed wing, but not even any rough numbers as to how much better.

As for his control issues, I wonder about applying some AI to the problem. Let the computer "learn" how to flap it's wings. It's what the birds do.

Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
07/27/16 10:37 AM
Re: Robot Birds..... are coming.....

He's conflating enough aspects of the problem to obscure the performance issues.

First off, the notion that we don't know how to make a flapping-wing aircraft is absurd. We've been making them for most of a century, and they outperform birds, because we know one thing that nature doesn't: how to make a rotating joint.*

That means we can flap wings with efficient rotary motion instead of wildly inefficient reciprocating motion. We can carry thousands of pounds with a helicopter; when birds get over four or five pounds, they have to resort to external power (thermal or orographic lift) to range far enough to get food.

Which leads to the fuel issue: sure, birds don't burn kerosene. They have to eat, constantly, to power their inefficient flapping. That contraption with the solar cells on the wings is a hoot <g>.

The takeaway of this project is that we finally know enough about microelectronics to make an autopilot as smart as a birdbrain. That doesn't mean it makes sense.

*Yes, I know about the bacterial flagellum, but it depends on its environment for lubrication.

</curmudgeon mode>

Jeff Hartmann CIC
(Top Gun)
07/27/16 12:15 PM
Re: Robot Birds..... are coming.....

I had two ornithopters when I was a kid, one was struck down by a tennis racquet wielding girl, who said it scared her, and the other succumbed to an extremely high leap from our cat.

Fun toys (reciprocating motion notwithstanding).

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