Friday, April 30, 2010

An Airplane - With Toes?!

"Perching R/C Airplane"

bdmlstanford, YouTube (April 29, 2010)
video, 2:54

"The Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab at Stanford University has developed a system that enables a small aircraft to land and take off from vertical surfaces."

This short video isn't likely to win awards for cinematography - but as a documentary, it gets the job done.

The small airplane - about 18 inch wingspan - has a "autopilot," according to the video: So I don't know quite what to make of the "R/C" (Radio Controlled) in the title. Maybe the autopilot's 'brain' isn't in the plane, and communicates with it's 'body' via radio. They don't say.

It's a remarkable little machine - with feet and a couple clawed toes on each foot. I've seen birds - and a bat - approach walls the same way, basically. The animals are better at it.

Well, this is a sort of prototype.

And quite impressive.

More:The same video, from a groovier YouTube account, was embedded in a Discovery News post: "Aircraft Lands on Side of Wall, Vertically, "Tech News, Discovery News (April 29, 2010)

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