Inspired by the Common Swift (a kind of bird), one of nature's most efficient flyers, the RoboSwift, is a small aircraft designed by aerospace engineering students at Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
The lightweight remote-controlled aircraft, weighs less than 3 ounces and is just 20 inches long. Unlike a fixed-wing aircraft the RoboSwift has real feathers, four on each wing. The feathers fold over one another and sweep back and forth, helping change its wing shape as well as surface area - very similar to how real birds fly. This helps make RoboSwift more efficient and agile, compared to static wing aircraft.
However, the real value of RoboSwift lies in the fact that it looks just like a real bird - with three cameras in it. The inventors think it can be used by the Military for spying missions, by the police or even for scientific observations of wild birds.
The students who developed this are flying to India next week to enter RoboSwift in an international contest for micro-aircraft. However, before they go, they will have to make one last tweak on this aircraft - programming it not to crash into trees - which is what happened on it's first test flight.
Enjoy the two videos below. The first one demonstrates how RoboSwift works. The second one is of the aircraft on its first test flight - and crash!