I would imagine the dream of human flight has been with us since we have been walking upright. Observing the birds around us and their seemingly effortless courses through the air, well, a bit of jealousy is natural. We tend to credit the Wright Bros. with the first powered flight. Fine. But do we really emulate the birds re: flapping under our own power? Not really. As of now, we need gobs of power (in relative terms) and carefully crafted rigid wings with just the right shape to produce lift (variable geometry wings such as F-111 and F-14 notwithstanding).
Through the years some have made attempts at copying the birds, some have even gotten close. Now a Dutchman–Jarno Smeets–seems to have taken us one step closer. His blog (click here) contains all the details you need to know, but more to the point, the video of his most recent flight is pretty amazing really.
Only two small shortcomings that I see 1) It is still powered by a small motor (until we develop gigantic breastbones with equally gigantic breast muscles with which to power “wings” we will forever need help flapping) and 2) It still seems like quite a violent up-and-down movement to counter the wingbeats.
Still this is way cool and I love the way this guy thinks. His inspiration?: DaVinci and his grandfather.