Pigeon bot

It is interesting to share what I read about the pigeon robot.


Robotics is developed with mechanisms, electronics, and computer science. Typical designs of robots are based on natural creatures such as humans, cheetahs, spiders, and birds. The invention of the first sustained aeroplane works under the basic principles of Bernoulli and pressure difference. We think an aircraft is flying like a bird. But it can not change the shape of a wing.

The pigeon robot resembles the real pigeon where it has continuously morphing wings and can make tight turns as birds. Design of pigeon robot leads to the future of advanced aerospace engineering.

First Pigeon Robot

We may think that the pigeon robot is a fresh idea, but it began in 450 BC. Archytas (the founder of mathematics in mechanics) is the inventor of the flying pigeon. It is the first autonomous volatile machine that steam-powered. He made a lightweight, hollow cylindrical aerodynamic shape of bot using wood, and the primary mechanism used for the flight is mechanical resistance exceed by the pressure of the steam. However, the first study into how birds fly has started long ago.

Mechanics behind pigeon flight

The study of exactly how birds fly is a little complicated and tricky because their wings are made up of multiple feathers, where each wing has 40 feathers, 20 on the upper side and 20 on the lower side. Always the feathers interact with each other and make the wing morph continuously. Also, the angle of each feather is controlled by the wrist angle. Therefore the shape of the wing can be changed by only changing the wrist angle.

Implementation of pigeon bot

The robot is equipped with real pigeon feathers flies like a bird is constructed using the above study of mechanisms behind pigeon flight. The research team powered the bot by a propeller and remotely controlled the wrist and feather joints in each wing. The first dry run of the bot, its average speed is about 40 km/hrs, which is a little slower than a real pigeon, on the other hand, individual molecules embedded throughout the feathers, which are 10 micrometres across and allow feathers to move away within a limit for an accurate flight.

The study of real bird flight became successful. But it is only possible with the real pigeon feathers because there are no any other synthetic material has the similar property of real pigeon feathers which has the unique property of lightness and firmness to carry aerodynamic loads. The invention of a synthetic material similar to the actual feather may lead to more innovative pigeon robot features.

Dec 17, 2020