It’s Bird! It’s a Plane!

Nope. It’s a robot seagull. This is truly amazing. What a powerful driver of technology warfare has been. How can we even consider a peaceful world that would deprive us of robot spy-birds, laser pointers and kevlar!

BTW, don’t be surprised by a shift to micro-post for the month of April. I won’t disappear. But I will likely take the vow of silence, mostly, until my typing mojo returns.

About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

4 Comments on “It’s Bird! It’s a Plane!

  1. Thanks for this link. This is so utterly amazing. I’m in awe of someone just thinking they can do this, let alone accomplishing such a thing.

    I searched for a project lineage to warfare because it does seem likely. I couldn’t find anything other than the Fast Company article title and the reporter’s off-handed comment at the end. Festo is a German-based, world-wide process automation company and their promo material doesn’t acknowledge any sponsorship, not military, not EU, nothing. So they are obscuring any sponsors or they are on their own. I never heard of them, but apparently they are pretty big.

    There is so much to be amazed about in this research. I don’t know why people seem to rush to the military connection. Sure, the application might be there, maybe obviously so. But really, really look at this research and what it means. These guys are mimicking nature as a way of design and engineering. So unusual. So utterly wholesome. I’m just, IMPRESSED! I wish I was starting college now with an opportunity to do this kind of work. Seagulls as spys, maybe. How about seagulls as wetland observers and monitors, as weather observers from inside storms and such, as flood monitors, as traffic monitors, as messengers, as pets, as whale watchers, as GreenPeace, as low altitude LANDSAT, as tree counters, as bee counters, as bat counters, as parking spot finders, as drought assessors, and on and on.

    Again, thanks for the link. I had no idea this could be done. I am utterly impressed.

  2. Con, search “robot insect spy darpa” and find plenty of military motives and money for miniature flying things. Yes, they can also be used to find missing people, locate explosives and enter dangerous buildings after earthquakes. But seems to me from what I read, the chief driving force is for military use, and they have the bank accounts to do it.

    Check out the dragonfly robots:
    http://dailypaul.com/159472/the-designer-of-the-robot-dragonfly

  3. I sure liked Con’s list of peaceful uses. Let’s hope others are thinking the same way. On the other topic, please keep posting a sentence a day, Fred. Then your software will offer those three links at the bottom of your post connecting us to past entries that we may have missed (or forgot). That way, we can keep on enjoying your photos and writings while the current Fred is out of commission. You can walk down memory lane with us, too!

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