In this segment, DIY-Robotics will take you through the world of robotics to explore new innovative products out on the market. We’ll look at everything from industrial to military to hobby robots as well as everything in between. We’ll dive into the technology, the programming, and the design features and what they might mean for the automation industry. In segment 1 we present two bionic robots from pneumatics and automation giant FESTO.
Why Bionic Robots matter
Nature has had billions of years on this planet to adapt every species to fit a specific environmental niche. While this occasionally results in vestigial limbs and organs, the majority of the time biological adaptations show energy efficient time-tested developments. So, how does this benefit your company and factory? Well, these bionic robots, simply put, make sense. They behave in ways we would expect. They move and operate in ways programmers, engineers and operators can understand. As robots become more ubiquitous, and automation leans toward incorporating more robots, these machines are going to need to act in ways that make sense to everyone at all levels of production, not just the engineers. As designers learn to mimic the movements of nature, they will be able to anticipate the movement of robot handlers and operators. Understanding the laws that govern biological motion is vital to creating robots that seamlessly fit into our natural environment.
Bionic Flying Fox
At first glance, you might think this is a sugar glider or a bat. A friendly face sits below a cigar-shaped body that houses most of the drive system. The wings are an elastic material that consists of both epidermis and dermis layers. Four-bar linkages connect the body to the fingers and foot joints. When the robot releases from its perch, it falls and the wings unfold, turning the robot over into a flying position. Slow-motion shows the wings moving with remarkably avian motion and grace. At first, you might think it is just fluttering to the ground, slowing the descent to a manageable velocity. But then you realize it’s actually flying, making circles around the corridor and effortlessly keeping itself in flight.
If you fear spiders and the robot revolution, then skip the WheelBot altogether. Although, for a spider, we at DIY-Robotics think it is rather cute. Based on the motion of real spiders, WheelBot walks in tripod motion, using six legs to move around. The other two legs stay wrapped up tightly against the body during the normal ambulation. However, the name WheelBot had to come from somewhere, right? In a second mode of locomotion, the legs that were just doing the walking now curl around the body of the robot forming a protective ball. The two legs that were tucked into the body in the previous mode now act as “kickers,” driving the now spherical body like a self-propelled orb. Yeah, it’s also way faster this way.
Check out this video to see the Flying Fox, Wheelbot and another one of FESTO’s creations.
All images courtesy of ©Festo AG & Co. KG, all rights reserved.
Written by: B.A. Durham