“For many years, I worked for my father and grandfather’s family business, the inventor of TIM, the rubber-band bird well known to the general public. As a result, I used my aeronautic engineering studies to concentrate on flapping flight. Some of my accomplishments have been incorporated into the toy to improve its flight. Numerous high performance prototypes, but a bit too expensive to produce, remained in the closet in order to prepare for the future.
During this entire period, I dreamed of being able to replace the rubber-band bird with an electric motor and a battery to make a radio-controllable model. But the challenge was to maintain the same weight, which was completely impossible with the technology of the time. Until the arrival of miniature mobile phones… The new lithium batteries, and coreless motors created for vibrators, provided new opportunities! After a few theoretical calculations, I discovered that the dream had become attainable. However, the weight stumbling block remained: how to make a sufficiently compact and lightweight gear for coupling the motor to the wings’ flapping system.
I finally managed, one evening of great inspiration, one of those evenings that you are never sure to be able to recreate, one of those evenings that you would be quite incapable of retracing. From then on, and at the cost of uncompromising design to drastically minimize the weight of each component, the first CAD model (100% virtual) was born. Magic would have it that the first prototype of this model flew beautifully, far beyond my expectations! A page of my history had been turned.”
Edwin Van Ruymbeke