New Delhi: A new bird-like drone with feathers has been developed by scientists which they claim is capable of changing its wingspan, moving through tight spaces and flying at a high speed.
Birds alter the configuration of their wings, when they need to change direction, increase their speed or counter headwinds.
To steer, they spread one wing and slightly retract the other.
By adjusting their wingspan in this way, they create a calculated imbalance that causes them to turn.
After observing birds in flight, researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland built an energy-efficient winged drone capable of changing its wingspan, flying at high speed and moving through tight spaces.
"We were inspired by birds: they can radically transform the size and shape of their wings because they have an articulated skeleton that is controlled by muscles and covered in feathers that overlap when the wings are folded," said Matteo di Luca from Brown University in the US.
The drone also has feathers that it can fold and overlap like a fan.
(With PTI inputs)