SmartBird sure to fool the casual ornithological observer

German pneumatic and electric automation firm (read: Germans making freakishly lifelike robots) Festo has produced what is perhaps the most lifelike robot we have ever seen -- in the form of a seagull. As you can see in the video below, everything about the SmartBird looks like the real deal. The flapping of its wings, head and tail movements and ability to seamlessly take off and land all are eerily similar to that of earth's perennial beach-day wrecker.

Festo's Bionic Learning Network program, which involves universities in the U.S. and Europe, aims to model mechanical systems after movement found in nature. In the past, the program's participants have experimented with elephant trucks and jellyfish to produce incredibly realistic - and creepy - robots.

The video below dives into the how the SmartBird functions. Festo's ability to echo natural movement is pretty wild, but it makes us wonder when science will be able to recreate these animals' mental characteristics along with their physical ones.

We're not sure we're looking forward to the day when real life imitates a marriage of The Birds and iRobot, but we're sure the tech behind it will be incredible.

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