Designing a robot that can convincingly move like a member of the animal kingdom is a much more difficult prospect than merely building something that has the outward appearance of one. Some of the best examples of both have come from the engineers at Festo, including a herring gull named SmartBird
and a bit of a bounder known as the BionicKangaroo
. As a taste of things to come at next month's Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, the company has now revealed three more biomimetic creations: a small colony of ants, a gripper modeled on a chameleon's tongue and some fine flyers in the shape of some big blue butterflies.
Back in 2011, Festo created a natural-flight mimicking bionic seagull with flapping wings dubbed SmartBird
. The company is now looking to apply similar principles in order to convert wind power into electricity with its DualWingGenerator system.
The dragonfly is quite the show off when it comes to flying. It can hover in mid-air, maneuver in all directions, and glide without so much as a beat of its wings. After succeeding in capturing the essence of a herring gull with the SmartBird
, the folks over at German pneumatic and electric automation company Festo challenged themselves with the creation of a robotic addition to the dragonfly family – the BionicOpter.
Sometime in the future, perhaps sometime soon, the robotic jellyfish
cruising the world’s oceans may have to make way for one other companion – the robotic ray. A team led by University of Virginia engineering professor Hilary Bart-Smith has created such a “creature,” in hopes that its autonomously-operated descendants may someday help us humans explore and study the sea, or possibly perform surveillance for the military.
Festo, a German automation technology company that brought us, among other things, the smartbird robotic seagull
and bionic flying penguins
, has built a flying object unlike any we have seen. Despite the impressive biomimicry track record, this time its engineers decided to look for inspiration in the inanimate world of geometry. Based on a geometrical band first created by Swiss artist and inventor Paul Schatz, the SmartInversion is filled with helium and propels itself through the air by constantly turning itself inside out. By investigating this pulsating, rhythmical movement, called inversion, the company hopes to identify possible uses for it in technology.
Festo has added to its robotic menagerie
with the creation of a robotic seagull that weighs just 450 g (15.87 oz) and boasts a wingspan of 1.96 m (6.4 ft). Dubbed the SmartBird, the ultralight flying robot was inspired by the herring gull and can take off, fly and land autonomously, without the help of any additional drive systems.
Festo, the automation company that designed the bionic penguin
and its robotic stablemates – AirRay, AquaRay, AirJelly and AquaJelly – has found another natural model in its latest application of biomimicry
– the elephant's trunk.
The latest example of biomimicry in robotics to cross our desk is from German electrical automation company Festo
, which has used the shape of the acquatic, flightless bird to construct two different types of bionic penguins. The AquaPenguins use the bird's hydrodynamic body contours and wing propulsion to allow the robot to maneuver in cramped spaces, turn on the spot and, unlike their real-life counterparts, swim backwards. The larger helium-filled AirPenguins use the same principles to lift the usually flightless bird into the air.