Is it a bird? It is a plane? No it’s a bird-shaped drone called Bionic Bird. This new mechanical bird, due to land this December, will be app controlled, using a Bluetooth 4.0 link to support 100 meters of remote controlled flight from your smartphone or tablet.
Bionic Bird’s French makers are currently raising crowdfunds on Indiegogo. They describe their creation as a “furtive drone”. Furtive because it’s biomimetic. Aka it flaps like a bird. So it’s rather less Half Life-esque to look at than the average drone. Certainly from a distance.
To the point where bona fide birds appear willing to accept it as one of their own, thanks to its mechanical fluttering. Or, in the case of larger birds of prey, swoop in close to check out whether it’s potential dinner.
This also works with cats, obviously…
Bionic Bird has soared past its $25,000 funding target, and is currently flying north of $65,000 raised so the project is well on its way to taking flight.
The initial version of Bionic Bird is basically a glorified toy — an app controlled update on the classic mechanical bird toys that have been around since the late 1960s.
But the team behind it have a roadmap to expand the bird’s capabilities and size to include finer grained control with a remote controlled tail, more stable stationary flight and, by winter 2016, a HD video camera with live retransmission — so basically a spy drone that blends in. Assuming a large flappy bird is a common sight in your neighbourhood.
The current version is priced at $120 to Indiegogo backers, with an estimated delivery date of December.
To keep the weight of the bird low enough to enable flappy flight the battery stays on the ground, encased in an egg-shaped charger. Twelve minutes of charging provides enough juice for 10 eight-minute long flights, according to the team.
The bird’s body is made of elastic foam so it can take repeat impacts when landing. The wings are carbon fiber, likewise to be light but strong enough to take a few knocks.