A team of scientists and engineering students from Duke University in North Carolina teamed up with a taxidermist for an unusual project--to bring a dead swamp sparrow back to life, or a semblance thereof.
The team utilized commercially available robotic components to reanimate the dead bird. Their purpose in building 'Robosparrow' was to study aggressive behavior among male swamp sparrows; specifically, whether or not wing-flapping was a sign of aggression. In order to make the dead bird flap its wings again, the engineering students built a linear motor in its body cavity.
The experiment lasted two months and spanned sixty trials. Live male swamp sparrows regularly attacked their robotic counterpart. Males were aggressive regardless of whether the Robosparrow flapped its wings or not, which confirmed researcher's suspicions that wing-flapping was a sign of aggression.
While the study itself was a success, 'Robosparrow' did not fare so well. After wear and tear from months of bird attacks, the robotic sparrow quite literally lost his head, and his robotic components ceased to function. It looks like the 'Robosparrow' is finally dead for good.