Scientists Make Drones Maneuver Better By Using Pigeon Feathers
Aadhya Khatri - Jan 20, 2020
PigeonBot makes use of real pigeon feathers as there is no synthetic material that has the properties the scientists require
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A drone that can navigate the air like a real bird might be the future of our aerospace engineering. In fact, these robots are equipped with real bird feathers.
Gaining the knowledge of how birds manage to fly has always been challenging as their wings consist of multiple feathers and they interact with each other continuously when the bird is in the air. This is why birds can do what modern airplanes cannot.
To study their flying ability, Stanford University’s David Lentink and his colleagues choose the pigeon cadaver as their subject. Each of the creature wings has 20 feathers attached to the upper side and 20 more on the lower.
By attaching maker on each of the wings, the scientists were able to keep track of the way the bone and the feathers move.
What they found out was that the bird was able to change their wings’ shape without moving an individual feather, which lowers the number of variables involved in the whole process.
With the study, the scientists think that we can finally give up on the idea of controlling all the degrees of freedom. Our future airplanes may not fly by flapping their wings but they will probably change their shapes.
The knowledge they gained after this study has been put into the making of PigeonBot, which was designed to mimic the way pigeons fly. The drone is power by a propeller and can reach a speed of 40 kilometers per hour, still slower than an average pigeon.
PigeonBot makes use of real pigeon feathers as there is no synthetic material that has the properties the scientists require.