Biomimetics or biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex problems. More simply, it is the adaptation of the natural movement and habits of plants and animals to solve human problems. A good example of this adaptation is the loops and hooks of the popular material Velcro. It mimics the action of burrs and the way they stick to each other. Almost everywhere we look in the natural world we can see models worth copying. From the way snakes use serpentine movement and muscle contraction, jellyfish propel themselves, and the action of light on plants to provide growth, we are surrounded by fascinating motion and function.
One of the earliest attempts at replication was the flight of birds. I can imagine that the very earliest humans on the planet must have wanted to fly. Over 400 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci designed many types of flying machines using birds for his inspiration. One of the most popular was the ornithopter, which is the basis for the toy in the attached video. In the 1980’s a French patent was filed by Brevet with the design for this toy bird that also has US patent coverage. You can see the patent at Google patents under 5,163,861. (Best to copy and paste). I have been fascinated by biomimicry for a long time and thought that this toy was a good example of the process. Enjoy the video and the close up photo of the mechanism.