In an attempt to turn into reality all the sci-fi stories about robot army expeditions the German firm Festo has invented two varieties of robotic creatures. Obviously these inventions are more realistic than the fictional replicas. BionicANTS and eMotionButterflies will be available to public viewing from April 13 to April 17 at Germany’s Hannover Fair.
Festo has designed 3D-printed versions of the insects which are known to be highly organized and which can efficiently collaborate on tasks. For building the 3D-printed ants the company has combined sensors, complex control algorithms and wireless control systems. The robots are not small, but they have almost the same size as a human hand. Their body is made out of plastic and their heads are provided with a stereo camera. This allows the determination of their location and the identification of different objects which could be caught using the gripping devices located beneath the chin.
The BionicANTS were created in such a way that they copy the behavior of real ants, which means that they are able to make individual decisions based on the common goals of the whole drone swarm. The goal is to create intelligent agents which can work effectively in factories form the future by adapting to various production requirements.
The eMotionButterflies are made out of an ultra-lightweight material and are provided with GPS and infrared cameras. Owing to this the butterflies are able to fly in swarms without bumping into each other. The coordination of the butterflies is made possible with the use of several cameras which are connected to a dedicated computer system.
Besides being highly functional, the bionic ants and butterflies are also extremely attractive. They have strong colors and intricate details. Their aesthetics is quite impressive. The attractive design of the bionic creatures was made possible by applying 3D MID technology on their laser-sintered shaped body parts. According to sources close to the company which had the occasion to see the ants, the strategic design is at the core of their beauty.
This is not all. Besides eMotionButterflies and BionicANTs Festo has developed a third robot. It is called FlexShapeGripper and its function is to grip or hold objects of different sizes, shapes and volumes. Its way of functioning is based on technology adapted after the tongue of the chameleon.
Image Source: Gizmag
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