New developments from Festo’s Bionic Learning Network
07 April 2016
Festo’s 2016 Bionic Learning Network has created new production technologies such as lightweight structures, digital fabrication and an airborne assistance system.
3D Cocooner: bionic structures from the spinneret
Caterpillars were the inspiration behind Festo’s 3D Cocooner, much like the animal, it spins filigree figures and customised lightweight structures from a fibreglass thread. A handling system precisely controls the spinneret and once the fibreglass threads leave, they are coated with UV-hardening resin and joined together to form a complex structure.
Unlike the traditional 3D printing process, these structures do not arise in layers but are created freely in three-dimensional space. The 3D Cocooner has a virtual design program that directly conveys the manufacturing instructions for the product to the tool level. The digital chain can therefore proceed straight from the first concept to the finished product without any hassle.
Once the structure has been designed and completed, it can be coated with textiles for use in a variety of applications.
Autonomously flying gripper sphere
This FreeMotionHandling system is an indoor flight object which consists of an ultralight carbon-fibre ring and eight adaptive propellers. In the middle is a rotation helium balloon with an integrated gripping element. The sphere can be autonomously moved in any direction and pick up and drop off objects due to its indoor GPS and on-board electronics.
The sphere can be rotated up to 180° and when it approaches the object to be grasped, it plans its own movements through means of two integrated cameras.
The human operator can safely control and interact with the sphere at all times, opening up opportunities for workspace of the future. Perhaps spheres like this can be used for future airborne assistance systems, overhead operations or as conveyors in space.
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