Often times when something looks like a bird, flaps and flies like a bird and even attracts the attention of animals that might consider a bird its prey, that something is most often the type to also squawk, flock and have feathers. Other times though, it’s just a super-awesome, carbon fiber constructed drone, aptly named the Bionic Bird.
A few weeks ago, you might remember, we brought you news that a different company, Trident Design, reinvented the paper airplane, replacing the paper portion of the plane with our all-time favorite composite.
And now, in what looks to be a growing trend amongst technological toy makers, engineer and mechanical bird enthusiast, Edwin Van Ruymbeke – whose family first created the Tim Classic rubber-band bird back in 1969 and the Avitron, an RC controlled update, thirty years later – has found yet another way to incorporate carbon fiber into some high-flying fun.
Unlike the Carbon Flyer, however, the Bionic Bird only boasts a set of carbon fiber wings and a CF tail – its frame is made of foam – and its designers have done away with the ultra-high-tech AAAs, opting instead for a pocket-sized egg that doubles as a charging station.
“In just 12 minutes it has enough juice for 10 flights lasting up to eight minutes each,”
states the Bionic Bird’s official product page.
Currently the specs on this avian innovation are quite uncanny, considering its size. The bird itself weighs only 9 grams, is remotely controllable – up to 100 meters via tablet or smartphone with Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities — and is “fearless in the face of predators thanks to its indestructible foam body and replaceable carbon fiber tail and wing structure.”
Not only that, but its insides involve a series of ant-sized anomalies in terms of engineering. Enough so, that it can lay claim to a number of exclusive patents thanks to its use of micro technology.
And that’s not all. Much like the goose that lays the golden egg, what makes this bird really fly high isn’t what it can do. It’s what it will do, come spring and winter of 2016.
Not only do Van Ruymbeke and pals plan on adding a third control option into its tail, to allow for additional stunts, but by that time, if everything goes according to plan, it should be able to maintain stationary flight, shoot in live, HD video and even be controllable by hand – no smartphone or tablet needed — via a high-tech wristband.
Pretty neat, right?
And if you think we’re the only ones salivating over this carbon fiber bird bot, think again. Raptors and cats alike both want a piece of this thing. For real. (Check out the video below.)
Oh yeah, and Wired thought it was cool enough to include on their list of 11 Hot Products From CES.
So, the next time you see something dark and winged darting through the sky, don’t just assume it’s a bird of the biological variety. It just might be Bionic. You never know.
For more on the Bionic Bird, including up-to-date info on its praises and pratfalls, you can visit the product’s official website over at Indiegogo.