The BionicCobot emulates movements of a human arm and acheives gentle movements to operate safely with human workers Courtesy of Festo

Bionics Highlight Automation Tech at Hannover Messe

March 30, 2017
The bionics demonstrate how compressed air can control fluid motions in complex robots.

Festo’s Bionic Learning Network is known for robots that emulate movements and characteristics of various animals. From the bionic kangaroo with a powerful, efficient jump to a swarm of robotic worker ants that communicate to transmit cargo almost 5 times their weight, the Bionic Learning Network uses eye-catching designs to showcase Festo’s technologies and developments for digitalization in pneumatic actuation. 

At the Hannover Fair in April, Festo will use bionics to showcase its pneumatic drives and controls for robots used in automation and processing. The bots achieve gentle handling and require low power. The bionics on display will demonstrate how compressed air can be used to control fluid movements, even in complex robots.

A designer works closely with a BionicCobot to tinker with Festo's newest product, the Motion TerminalThe Motion Terminal increases versatility in automation by controlling airflow for up to 8 movements. (Courtesy of Festo)

Festo's lightweight BionicCobot (shown above) has seven axes of motion and can be used for gentle handling. It gentle movements also allow it to come in contact with human workers. It uses pneumatic drives and muscle-like actuators in antagonistic pairs to allow flexion and extension—similar to the way biceps and triceps work together to move a human arm. Movements can be programmed by moving the arm through consequent through-points and recording them on an app. 

The BionicMotionRobot has a flexible range of motion. (Courtesy of Festo.)

The second bionic on display will be the BionicMotionRobot (above), which emulates the movements of an elephant’s trunk and octopus tentacle. The actuator uses several mechanical links to achieve fluid motion. Spiral tubing supplies compressed air to the actuator linkages, and elastic bellows support them for flexible motion.

Festo's booth will also include the OctopusGripper—a pneumatically controlled silicone structure with suction cups that enable gripping for objects of various sizes. Its soft material makes the OctopusGripper safe for direct collaboration with human workers. 

For more information about Festo's Bionic displays, visit Festo in Hall 15, Stand D11 at Hannover Messe April 24 - 28.

About the Author

Leah Scully | Associate Content Producer

Leah Scully is a graduate of The College of New Jersey. She has a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering with a mechanical specialization.  Leah is responsible for Hydraulics & Pneumatics’ news items and product galleries. 

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