Inspired by the common swift, Roboswift was designed at the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The swift is one of the most efficient flyers in nature because of its ability to shift its wings by folding feathers over one another. This allows the swift to adapt to changes in flight conditions. The common swift can fly the distance to the moon and back almost five times in its lifetime.
The Roboswift measures 51 centimeters from wingtip to wingtip and weighs less than 80 grams. Unlike other bio-inspired aircrafts, the Roboswift has four “feathers” on each wing, which allow it to change the shape of the wings. To steer, it sweeps one wing back more than the other, creating a difference in the lift on the wings. The change in lift allows Roboswift to roll or make sharp turns in the air. The RoboSwift’s propeller can also fold back to reduce air drag.
The Roboswift is being used for SPYING! Onboard lithium-polymer batteries power an electromotor that drives a propeller, allowing RoboSwift to follow a group of real birds for 20 minutes or perform ground surveillance for an hour. “RoboSwift carries three onboard micro cameras, with two mounted on the wing and one in the belly pointing downward. A display mounted to the robo-plane’s head will beam the images to the ground where pilots can get a bird’s-eye view.” A few military aircraft, such as the F-14 Tomcat and the English-German Tornado, are equipped with “swing wings”.