Cirin: Toy-Sized Bird Skeleton Race Car
Bird bones are among the most unique in the animal kingdom, with an incredibly aerodynamic hollow form that keep them simultaneously lightweight and strong. This next-gen toy-sized race car is powered by a single 16-foot rubber band and can propel a distance of 500 feet at up to 30 miles per hour. The final design is 3D-printed in nylon and set to retail for around $500. Says the design team, “We drew inspiration from mid 1950s Formula 1 cars as well as the truss structures found inside the bones of a bird’s wing. These structures are both light and rigid, ideal properties for the car we wanted to design.”
Two Bird Inspired Drones
With a 3D-printed hinge inspired by the wrist joint on the wings of birds, a drone by researchers at Stanford University can flap its way through the sky. While they originally planned to use a motor to mimic the way birds tuck their wings in when navigating between obstacles, a student familiar with origami realized the forces generated by the flapping motion are enough to unfold the wings automatically.
Another bird-inspired drone design, the iMorph, takes a more complicated approach at recreating the 44 coupled muscles in a typical bird’s wing. It doesn’t need as much power to fly as a typical drone, and has more endurance. Says researcher Soon-Jo Chung, who was the first to develop a bird-like drone with the ability to perch on a human hand, “If a drone is bird- or bat-like it’s much lighter and more energy efficient because it can glide without moving its wing at all. They can fly much longer distances, which is a big benefit. They can stoop and perch on a wire and maybe even recharge before they move on. These drones can be viewed as intelligent sensing vehicles for a variety of applications.”
The cenderawasih is a strikingly beautiful and flashy Indonesian bird of paradise with a trailing tail of wispy, extra-long white feathers, its form graceful and fierce. From this unusual source comes a concept sport bike designed by Imran Othman for MODENAS run on biofuel, with a shape that’s “aggressive yet fluid.”