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A group of conspiracy theorists pointed out at the time that birds are not animals, but spy devices manufactured by the government. Now, North American scientists agree with them… creating drones with dead birds.

The team made up of Mohammad Moin Khan, Paige Gee, Jared Upshaw and Mostafa Hassanalian presented the project in early 2023. It is called Taxidermy birds as a platform for flapping-wing drones: a bio-inspired mechanism for wildlife monitoring.

The presentation was made at the American Institute of Aeronautics and the SciTech Forum of Astronautics.

Taxidermy at the service of espionage?

Taxidermy is a process of dissecting lifeless animals, with a scientific purpose. They remain alive to facilitate their exhibition, study and conservation.

But in the case of scientists, the interest is to adapt their bodies to drones, initially for the observation of nature. That government entities then use them to spy is something else.

“By using 3D flapping and aerodynamic simulators, the limits of the aerodynamic flapping characteristics could be set for the drone for a specific set of wings,” the researchers note.

“This allowed the implementation of flapping mechanisms and the testing of the aerodynamics of the flapping-wing drone. It is found that although it is difficult to create such a drone, it is very practical for research purposes and can keep nature intact.”

What are the recommended upgrades for dead bird drones?

The scientists stress that “improvements to the flapping-wing drone would be to make the overall drone look more natural.”

Among the proposed improvements are:

  • Spur gears can be changed to helical gears, in order to reduce noise and increase service life.
  • Flexible wrists would help make the wings more flexible in flight.
  • Add different flight options to the drone, to provide an easier user experience and help in a more natural flight.
  • Adding legs so the drone can perch and monitor without using a lot of battery.

What do you think about the idea? Do you think it is possible to implement it? Or has it been in use for a while?

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