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Scientists want to build a robotic albatross. Here's why.

Now researchers are taking cues from the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans), an enormous seabird that is uniquely adapted to soar great distances with minimal effort.

“Flying is super easy for the albatross, and that’s totally different from other birds,” says Gabriel Bousquet, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at MIT who is also working on new drone designs. Unlike other birds that flap their wings frequently, the albatross rides the wind, sometimes traveling more than 600 miles a day while barely flapping its wings.


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