Humans have watched birds and dreamed of flying from before the time of Leonardo da Vinci. We thought wings might be the answer, but the first successful flights were in lighter-than-air hot air baloons. The first video below is the 1000-year dream of a mechanical bird that flys by flapping its wings. The next two videos are of lighter-than-air balloons in the shape of “fish” that use natural propulsion mechanisms to propel themselves through the air. Audience reactions are a joy to watch.
We sometimes keep fish and watch them glide gracefully through water, flipping a casual tail and sometimes suggesting peace in a less than tranquil world. What better analogy could there be but the equally graceful lighter-than-air balloon that is radio controlled. This video is as sure to make you laugh as much as the previous one was instilled awe in you.
Air swimmers are distributed by the William Mark Corporation and can be purchased online for $39.00 The company is founded on the creative genius of William Forti and his son Mark. They have several other remarkable flying toys and the x-zylo, which is seeking defense money.
If the sharks and clownfish are not enough, here is also a remarkable air jellyfish:
The Smart Bird and the Air Jellyfish are research projects of Festo Corporation, a fluid dynamics company, and their bionic learning network. The goal of the projects is to try and understand the mechanics of flight. The smart bird’s 80% efficiency is claimed to be the highest of any flight mechanism. The jelly fish is the first to use paristaltic movements for lighter-than-air flight. Both corporations are privately owned.
It seems that innovation can come from inspiration followed by scientific study or from brilliant research followed by a the creative application of the principles discovered. Either way, the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is no longer just model airplanes. We are seeing many new developments which we can hope to continue reading about in the near future.
Image via xtimeline
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