Just imagine: It’s a perfectly fine day, and you’re walking happily through the local park, or back home after a night at Showbiz Pizza. But then, suddenly and out of the blue, a robotic terror bird swoops down from the sky, perches on your shoulder, and eats your face.
The bright minds over at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are attempting to make this very future a reality, with a new bird-like robot that can actually perch.
This aerial robot takes its inspiration from real birds, ditching the “vertical tail” and using articulated wings to maneuver properly. It can land, or perch, by pitching upward and “decelerating rapidly” as it approaches its designated target.
According to the researchers working on the project:
“This was the first demonstration of perching by a directionally unstable aircraft and the first demonstration of perching on the hand that represents a significant step forward in close operational interaction between aerial robots and humans.”
Way to go, team.
Unfortunately, there’s no future that includes a Showbiz Pizza. We’re going to need a time machine for that one.