German Company 'Festo' Creates a Robotic Spider and a Robotic Bat

Thursday, 29 March 2018 - 7:30PM
Technology
Robotics
Thursday, 29 March 2018 - 7:30PM
German Company 'Festo' Creates a Robotic Spider and a Robotic Bat
< >
YouTube/FestoHQ
The German engineering company Festo has a history of creating robotic animals, and they're adding two new oddballs to their collection.

Festo has just announced their newest nature-inspired robots, the BionicWheelBot and the BionicFlyingFox. The BionicWheelBot, while somewhat resembling a destroyer droid from the Star Wars prequels, is based on a unique species of cartwheeling spider, while the BionicFlyingFox is more clearly based on the flying fox, otherwise known as a fruit bat.

See them in action below, with two videos from Festo showing off their capabilities:





The specific spider that the BionicWheelBot is based on is called the flic-flac spider, native to Morocco, which has the bizarre ability to double its speed by jumping into forward cartwheels. The bionic version works much the same way, with 15 small motors that propel it forward as it either walks or rolls (again, much like the Star Wars droid), and can roll at fast enough speeds that it can even move uphill. 

Perhaps less terrifying, unless you hate bats, is the friendly looking BionicFlyingFox, with a length of 34 inches (87 centimeters) and a wingspan of 90 inches (228 centimeters) since it's based on the largest species of bat in the world. Impressively, the robot can move semi-autonomously when it's in a defined space, thanks to a motion-tracking system and two infrared cameras that constantly record its position.

While it can fly completely on its own, it has to be landed manually, but that's something Festo is likely to keep working on. After that, they can work on landing it upside down like its real counterpart. And it's a little different from the echolocation that real bats can move around with.



Like we said earlier, Festo has a long history of making cool robots like this one. They've created everything from robot dragonflies that fly around and even hover in place, to their BionicKangaroo which naturally hops from place to place. 

They seem to be pretty good at taking inspiration from nature, whether it's a cool or terrifying part, so there's a good chance we can expect similar bionic animals next year.
Science
Science News
Technology
Robotics
No