Dubbed “ornithopters,” the drones consist of a set of flapping wings, are powered by mechanical propellers, and are designed after the way that birds fly.
Instead of only using synthetic materials to construct drones, researchers think the new results can be used to re-engineer deceased birds. One such researcher is Mostafa Hassanalian at New Mexico Tech in the US.
In the study, researchers put together parts of taxidermy birds and artificial drones that flapped like wings to make something that looked and moved almost exactly like a bird. Researchers also used 3D flapping and aerodynamic simulators to test how the re-engineered models flapped in the wind.
“This allowed the implementation of flapping mechanisms and testing of the aerodynamics of the flapping wing drone,” the researchers wrote in the study.
Interestingly, however, they also discovered that these models weren’t the most effective fliers. Even though making such a drone is hard, they said, “it is very useful for research and can keep nature from being disturbed.”
The latest discoveries, according to scientists, can also help current flapping-wing drones “appear more natural.”