Festo – Improving the Animal Kingdom Through Technology

By: Joseph Sanford

Festo is a technological research company. They specialize in automation. One of their focuses is robots in the shape of animals. In the past decade, they have created many diverse groups of robots. One of the first products released was the AquaPenguin. The AquaPenguin is a fully functional Robotic penguin that can swim and maneuver completely by itself. Using 3D sonar, these robotic penguins can move without running into anything in any direction, even backward. Festo has also created a robotic manta ray. They also created a robotic jellyfish and barracuda with similar aquatic features.


This company didn’t stop with water as the only terrain they discovered. Many of their projects took to the Air as well. With similar projects like the AirPenguin, AirRay, and AirJelly. Festo also created creatures based on those that already reside in the sky.The company created the Smartbird, that was inspired by the herring gull. With the look of a real bird, the Smartbird also fly more like a real bird because of wings that not only move up and down but slightly rotate to give it a real bird-like flight. Festo continued to push the boundaries not just with birds, they also modeled a robot after the dragonfly called the BionicOpter. The BionicOpter can move in practically any direction or just hover in one space. As time progressed, the company came up with even more unique robotic animals.


They continued their work by creating the BionicKangaroo. The unique thing about the BionicKangaroo is that it uses the energy from it last jump stores it, and can use it again for more power. Which seems like this could be a very applicable technology to many other scientific advances. The most recent Bionic creatures have taken up a new task, Collaboration. One of the abilities of the BionicAnts and eMotion Butterflies is the ability to work together. The eMotion Butterflies work in different ways than many of the other projects, by using infrared cameras, they are linked by a computer that calculates and coordinates each Butterfly allowing them to fly together. The direction that Festo has decided to take with these bionic animals is interesting and raises many questions. What can we learn from bionic animals about their real-life counterparts? What is the purpose of these inventions? Surveillance? Commercial use? Observation of the animal kingdom? It will be interesting to see what Festo decides to do with these creations in the future.


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