Science Saturday – BionicOpter – Is It A Bird, Is It A Plane?



Ze Germans have done it again, and their engineering prowess has pulled off something that Engineering PhD students across the globe have been studying and trying to replicate for decades. A mechanical remote controlled dragonfly.

German tech giant Festo have managed to pull of a machine which mimics the complex flying characteristics of a dragonfly that can be sustained single point hovering and has full authoritative control in multi-directional flight.

The lightweight design, and use of wireless technology onboard which communicates with the other sensor and actuator controls on the BionicOpter means that the complex movements and shape of the wings required to maintain either a single point in space hover or climb, descend and turn in flight can all be done with the various parts talking with each other and enabling the BionicOpter to fly. It’s akin to a mechanical brain doing the unconscious thinking to sustain flight.

Festo of course see the uses of such a device for SAR efforts, particularly in natural disaster recovery efforts, and for use by police forces globally for crowd control and  security.

Sadly however, my money is on it being used by armed forces in a weaponsied version sometime in the not too distant future. Don’t be surprised if you see swarms of these things buzzing through your neighbourhood beaming live video back to a bunker in Quantico and a red dot trained on your forehead!

Take a look at the BionicOpter in action in full flight below.

BionicOpter Mechanics


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