First Ever Robo-Sparrow Shunned and Bullied by the Flesh and Blood Variety

By Gary Cutlack on at

A dead sparrow brought back to life by robotics scientists has been having a terrible time getting beaten up by its living relatives. They attack it. They fear it. But that was all part of the experiment.

Students at North Carolina's Duke University teamed up with a local taxidermist to re-animate the wings of a dead sparrow, sticking a small motor inside the poor dead bird's body cavity to move the poor little thing's limbs about. The idea behind it was to see how much wing-flapping is used as an aggressive act by the birds, monitoring the responses of real birds to the various movements of the Frankensparrow.

The robot bird survived two months of wing-flapping experiments and being attacked by other males on a daily basis, before "the head fell off and the wing stopped moving." [BBC]

Image credit: Sparrow from Shutterstock