Elegant Wind-Up Bird Toy Designed to Actually Fly When You Throw It

Toy Bird by Haptic Labs

Toys of today are often loaded with a bevy of technological bells and whistles, but that’s not the only thing that makes them fun. Since the late 15th century, wind-up toys have entertained children and adults alike. Designer Emily Fischer of Haptic Lab is carrying on this rich tradition with her version of an ornithopter—a flying machine that makes a flapping wing motion and takes flight. Fisher crafted her toy bird in memory of Martha, the last known living passenger pigeon who died in 1914.

Calling the device the Flying Martha Ornithopter, it’s simple to operate. There is a small gear that you wind, and once tightened, release like you would like a paper airplane. The flapping motion—powered by a rubber band—pushes air downward and lifts Martha into the air. Fischer’s eye-pleasing design also encourages you to tweak the toy's flight patterns. “Turn the bird's adjustable tail left or right,” she offers, “throw it with wings up or down, twist the rubber band clockwise or counterclockwise.”

Made out of a bamboo frame with wings of mulberry paper, Martha joins the ranks of Fischer’s other birds in her Flying Animals collection. The designer is currently raising funds for production via a Kickstarter campaign. See the wind-up toy in action, below.

Designer Emily Fischer has created a wind-up toy that flies on its own.

Wind-Up Toy by Haptic Labs

Called the Flying Martha Ornithopter, it's an homage to Martha, the last living passenger pigeon who died in 1914.

Wind-Up Toy by Haptic LabsToy Birds by Haptic Labs

To use it, simply twist its gear and let go!

Wind-Up Toy by Haptic LabsToy Bird by Haptic LabsWind-Up Toys by Haptic Labs

Fischer is currently raising funds for production via Kickstarter. One of the rewards is an artist's version of Martha, created by Nic Annette Miller:

Wind-Up Toys by Haptic Labs

Haptic Lab: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Kickstarter

All images via Haptic Lab.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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