The Bionic Kangaroo

The German automation specialist Festo and its Bionic Learning Network have spawned another creature: The Bionic Kangaroo. After recreating the motion mechanics of several fascinating aquatic and airborne animals they seem to now move on trying to learn the tricks nature applies to land based creatures.

With the BionicKangaroo, Festo has reproduced the unique way a kangaroo moves. Like its natural model, it can recover the energy when jumping, store it and efficiently use it for the next jump. kangaroo03

It combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology to produce a highly dynamic system. The stable jump kinematics plus the precise control technology ensure stability when jumping and landing. The consistent lightweight construction facilitates the unique jumping behavior.

The system is controlled by gestures with a Myo Armband. Festo paid particular attention to the mobile energy supply on the artificial kangaroo. For this purpose, the team even developed two different concepts – one with an integrated compressor and one with a mobile high-pressure storage device.

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There is a detailed brochure on the project here. Altogether as always great marketing leading up to the Hannover Messe. Still impressive technology though.

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Flying With Inversion

Another fascinating flying thingy by German Company Festo.  After a lot of interesting flying objects in the past that were inspired by nature or did even resemble some animals this one is based on a geometric principle.

The object called SmartInversion is a helium-filled flying object that moves through the air by turning inside-out. This constant, rhythmically pulsating movement is known as inversion and gives the flight model its name. With the intelligent combination of extreme lightweight construction, electric drive units and control and regulation technology, inversion kinematics can be indefinitely maintained to produce motion through the air.

The shape of this flying object is based on the geometrical band devised by Paul Schatz: its middle section, in the form of an articulated ring of six members, detaches itself from a cube and constantly turns inside-out, taking on different geome

With the geometrical band Schatz discovered that the principle of kinematics, which until then had been based on rotation and translation (linear motion), could be extended by a further mode: inversion. With SmartInversion, the engineers and designers are now investigating where and how geometrical inversion can be put to use in technology.

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Flying Robot Bird

Festo, well known for their biologically inspired robots, has a new creation called SmartBird. It is amazing to watch and all the more amazing when you realize that it flaps its wings and all of the control is via a torsion drive which twists the wings during each flap. The whole thing depends on the constant intervention of the software to keep it under control.

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