The next time you see a graceful, dramatic video shot by a camera drone, you may have a swan to thank for the absence of any jittery footage. Stanford University researchers are developing camera suspension technology inspired by whooping swans, whose heads remain remarkably still even when they're making aggressive in-flight maneuvers. Thanks to a blend of high-speed video and computer modeling, the scientists discovered that the swan's neck acts much like a vehicle's suspension, passively countering the effects of flapping wings or headwinds. It'll likely take a while before the nature-inspired design reaches something you can buy, but you may well see a day where drones are producing sharp, stable video even when they're traveling at high speeds or facing strong gusts.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Sergei Grits]