TNB Night Owl – Festo’s Ultralight Animatronics

AirPenguin by Festo. Image captured by the News Blender.

Festo AG & Co. KG (limited partnership, or Kommanditgesellschaft) is a multinational company founded in 1925 and headquartered in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany, just outside of Stuttgart. They’re well known and respected for their main business: industrial control and automation. However, they have a side hustle that’s been getting more attention lately than their forté. Robotics meets art when Festo combines their automation and control expertise with biomimicry and elegant design. The ultralight animatronics that result are pleasing to the eye and fascinating for the mind.

Most of Festo’s creations fly or float. Birds, bats, penguins (okay, so more birds), jellyfish that float in the air and more jellyfish that appear to swim. There are flocks of butterflies guided by artificial intelligence to prevent mid-air collisions between the faux insects. The BionicWheelBot imitates nature’s ‘flic-flac’ spider that can walk or roll. Something otherworldly called the BionicFinWave swims around in a really cool aquarium, and the BionicOpter is an unmistakable imitation of a dragonfly.

Additionally, the company has built a kangaroo and other animal-inspired robotic critters. Also not shown (but available in other online videos) are robotic hands that can grasp just like a human hand, and other non-animatronic automotons that could be put to use in industrial and commercial applications. Festo appears to be really into robotics in a big way.

You have to see these graceful robots to appreciate them. Keep in mind, these are not computer animations, they’re actual robots that fly, swim, hop or crawl.

“Festo’s Fantastical Flying Robots” (2:18)

“Festo Bionic Learning Network: Innovations inspired by nature” (1:49)

“Femac 2012 Smart Bird by Festo” (5:13)

“Festo BionicSwift 2021” (1:49)

“Festo – BionicWheelBot (English/Deutsch)” (2:28)

“Festo – BionicFlyingFox (English/Deutsch)” (2:16)

“Festo – BionicFinWave (English/Deutsch)” (1:37)

“Festo – AirPenguin” (1:49)

“Festo – AirJelly” (1:41)

“Festo – AquaJelly” (1:35)

“Festo – eMotionButterflies (English)” (1:29)

“Festo – BionicOpter” (1:28)

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About Richard Doud 566 Articles
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