Scientists Create Drone Inspired by Fast-flying Bird

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. flap / flæp / (v) – to move or swing back and forth or up and down

    The bird flapped its wings.

  2. mobility / moʊˈbɪl ɪ ti / (n) – the ability to move in an easy and quick manner

    The boy’s leg injury affected his mobility.

  3. swoop / swup / (v) – to fly down in a quick and sudden way

    The eagle swooped down to grab the fish off the fisherman’s boat.

  4. avert / əˈvɜrt / (v) – to prevent something from happening

    The driver hit the brakes just in time to avert a crash.

  5. fall into the wrong hands / fɔl ˈɪntu ðə rɔŋ hændz / (idiom) – to be in the possession or control of someone dangerous

    The authorities hid the weapon in a secret location so that it would not fall into the wrong hands.


Read the text below.

Experts built a drone that mimics a swift, one of the world’s fastest flying birds.

An international team of engineers created an ornithopter, or a bird-inspired drone, that can hover, glide, and dive. Thanks to its flapping wings, this ornithopter can easily outperform typical drones.

The drone is similar to a swift when it comes to mobility and speed. It can swoop in crowded areas and avert collisions by quickly coming to a full stop after flying at a high speed. In the event of a crash, the ornithopter poses less danger than a traditional drone because its wings are made of lighter materials.

While the swift-inspired drone is initially intended for surveillance, the team believes that it can be beneficial in different environments. The drone can be used in agriculture to aid in farming efforts without damaging crops thanks to its lightweight wings. Airports may also make use of the drone to chase away birds that could get sucked into plane engines.

Other possible uses for the drone include traffic monitoring, wildlife observation, and transporting of goods.

However, some experts believe that the drone could pose a threat to privacy and security if it falls into the wrong hands. In response to this concern, one of the researchers assured that the team did not intend to cause any harm when they created the drone.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Aside from those mentioned in the article, what do you think are other uses for the drone (e.g. a communication device)? Discuss.
• Do you agree that the drone could pose a threat to privacy and security? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think that current technology can easily fall into the wrong hands? Explain.
• How can developers make sure that the technology they invent does not fall into the wrong hands? Discuss.