Bionic Bird releases upgraded X-Fly remote-control flying insect
Four years ago we told you about the MetaFly, a remote-control flapping-wing flying model insect made by French startup Bionic Bird (which did previously release a model bionic bird). Well, the company is now back with the new-and-improved X-Fly.
Looking a bit like a cross between a dragonfly and a robin, the X-Fly is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Like the MetaFly, it features a carbon fiber frame along with a spring-loaded head and legs, all of which help it to survive crashes and rough landings.
Among the improvements are an increased wingspan for better gliding performance; an upgraded flapping mechanism which allows it to safely make its way through indoor and/or narrow spaces; plus gyroscopic and G-force sensors which were developed in partnership with the French Army Research and Development program.
Those sensors continuously adjust the steering to maintain straight flight (when desired), plus they keep the X-Fly from stalling when oversteered by the user.
And speaking of steering … whereas the MetaFly could only be controlled via a wireless remote control unit, the X-Fly can additionally be controlled via a new iOS/Android app on a Bluetooth-linked smartphone. There are three control options within the app, two of which allow for one-handed operation via a combination of tilting the phone and thumbing a single touchscreen control. Buyers can also opt for a dual-joystick remote that gets attached to the phone.
Power is provided by a 55-mAh/3.7V lithium-polymer battery, which should be good for eight to 12 minutes of flight time per 12-minute charge. And whereas the MetaFly had an integrated battery, the X-Fly's battery can be removed and swapped for a fully charged optional extra.
Flight speed is set by adjusting the angle of the tail, and ranges from 5 to 20 km/h (3 to 12 mph). The aircraft can manage wind speeds of up to 20 km/h and has a wireless control range of 100 m (328 ft).
Assuming the X-Fly reaches production, a pledge of €79 (about US$85) will get you one. It can be seen in action, in the video below.