"SmartBird is inspired by the herring gull and can take off by flapping its wings, and flying and landing autonomously. It moves by flapping and twisting its wings like a gull, and turns its head to steer--see the video below.
Built of carbon fiber and polyurethane foam, SmartBird weighs about 1 pound and has a wingspan of some 6.5 feet feet.
Though its inner structure recalls the flying machines of Leonardo da Vinci, it also houses a microcontroller, four servo drives, and a lithium polymer battery.
The wings are driven with an exterior rotor motor through a two-stage helical transmission, and the wing positions are monitored with sensors that relay data to ground operators via a radio link."