Learning to Perch Like a Bird
Why brake on the ground when you can brake in the air? That's the principal behind the Robot Locomotion Group's perching glider, developed by Russ Tedrake and Rick Cory. Made from flat-plane foam and using minimal controls, the glider has the ability to land on a perch.
For the design, Cory and Tedrake drew their inspiration from nature, studying the flight and landing patterns of birds. While still in development, the technology has far-reaching implications in both aeronautics and robotics. Cory was also named Boeing Engineering Student of the Year yesterday at Hamphsire, England's Farnborough Airshow. Click here to read an MIT News Office story on the glider, here to read about the award, and here to check out the project homepage.