SmartBird, a 2011 project from Festo’s Bionic Learning Network, is a robot that mimics the flight of birds to stay aloft. This is accomplished thanks to its lightweight construction and what they call “an active articulated torsional drive unit” within the robot.
This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously – with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles.
via The Presurfer