Skip to main content

Check out the lifelike robotic falcon scaring birds off an airport runway

CFS AERIUM - EIA
If you think that baggage-checking X-ray machines are as exciting as airport technology gets, prepare to have your mind blown!

At Canada’s Edmonton International Airport, the powers-that-be have launched a new program involving a fleet of robotic birds of prey (yes, really!), tasked with stopping real birds from dangerously flying or nesting near flight paths. It claims to be the first airport in the world to embrace such technology.

Called Robirds, the drones mimic the flight of falcons in a way that is lifelike enough to trick smaller birds into thinking their natural predator is in the area.

“The Robirds are robotic birds of prey that fly just like a real bird, through flapping wing motion,” Wessel Straatman, an R&D engineer at Clear Flight Solutions, the company which built the robo-falcons, told Digital Trends. “By mimicking their natural counterparts through silhouette and behavior, they are indistinguishable from real-life birds of prey to other birds. Birds instinctively react to the presence of birds of prey, making it less attractive for them to come to that area.”

Realizing the potential perils that birds can cause to planes (and vice versa), airports have long tried to scare them off in a variety of ways. Methods including kites or bird-scaring acoustics can work, but tend to be short-term solutions, as over time the birds see through the tactics. But according to Straatman, no such thing is likely to happen with the Robirds.

“Birds will never habituate to the presence of a bird of prey in an area, and since the birds cannot distinguish between real-life birds of prey and our Robirds, habituation does not occur with the Robirds,” he said. “This makes sure that we can focus on the long term, and truly offer bird control.”

It’s a clever solution both conceptually and, as the video at the top of this page makes clear, technologically, too. Provided it works as well as hoped, let’s keep our fingers crossed that similar tech rolls out around the world.

Suddenly the prospect of being stuck at the airport because of a delayed flight doesn’t seem so bad!

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more