Rockstar Robots make up the cream of the crop in the world of robotics. These are the bots that will turn heads with just their name being uttered. Even those who don’t stay on top of who’s making what should recognize a famous robot or two when they see it.
For the month of May, to celebrate the latest Make: issue on robotics, we’re going to be sharing many robot celebrities so you can know who is who the next time you’re at a robot gathering.
German company Festo is all about producing unusual robots that are based on their biological counterparts. This is true for their SmartBird as well, which is based on the herring gull and its flight characteristics. What makes this robot unique is that it can take off, fly, and land (perch?) all on its own.
Festo modeled the wings after its biological counterpart, meaning its wings not only flap up and down but can also twist at specific angles so that the outer edge is positioned upwards during the upward stroke, which provides lift.
The robotic bird can change its direction by turning its head and torso section through apposing movements, which is synchronized by two actuating motors. Much like an airliner, the bird’s tail is actuated to provide lift and yaw movement.
Hall Effect sensors outfitted in the wings and an accelerometer provide the SmartBird its location while data is processed by an MCU 32-bit microcontroller. While it may not be flesh and blood, watch the robotic bird in action and you can clearly see why Festo’s SmartBird has gained celebrity status.