Festo BionicSwift 2021

When designing the robotic birds, the focus was on the use of lightweight structures, just like their biological role model. Because the same applies in engineering as it does in nature: the less weight there is to move, the lower the use of materials and energy consumption. And so, with a body length of 44.5 centimetres and a wingspan of 68 centimetres, the bionic birds weigh just 42 grams.

To execute the flight manoeuvres as true to life as possible, the wings are modelled on the plumage of birds. The individual lamellae are made of an ultralight, flexible but very robust foam and lie on top of each other like shingles. Connected to a carbon quill, they are attached to the actual hand and arm wings as in the natural model.

During the wing upstroke, the individual lamellae fan out so that air can flow through the wing. This means that the birds need less force to pull the wing up. During the downstroke, the lamellae close up so that the birds can generate more power to fly. Due to this close-to-nature replica of the wings, the BionicSwifts have a better flight profile than previous wing-beating drives.