Plenty of robots can fly — but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011.



Name all the flying machines that you know, or have heard of.





  • flap – (of a bird) move (its wings) up and down when flying or preparing to fly
  • propulsion – the action of driving or pushing forwards
  • torsion – the action of twisting or the state of being twisted, especially of one end of an object relative to the other
  • efficient – performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  1. How do birds fly?
  2. What did the team use as their role model?
  3. What kind of company does Markus work with?
  4. What are the technical specs of the smart bird?
  5. What do you think are the practical applications of the smart bird?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the words in CAPITAL LETTERS used in appropriate forms.