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Festo's blue-sky research creates self-propelling structure

07 December 2012

Festo has turned the focus of its Bionic Learning network from the flying AirPenguin and Jellyfish to an innovative flying kinematic structure called SmartInversion.

While linear and rotary movements are familiar and well understood, inversion is a third and far more complex principle. SmartInversion is a lighter-than-air, helium filled structure which utilises a smart phone app to remotely control three miniature closed loop servo motors. The result is a large 4.75m structure that can propel itself by self-inversion through the air.

“The Bionic Learning Network concepts are developed as a collaboration between our research, development, corporate design teams and leading universities and research establishments,” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo GB.

“They always provoke discussion and are a great way for us to gauge reaction to ideas and innovations inspired by nature and applied to automation. We also use the Bionic Concepts to inspire young engineers; changing their perceptions by displaying complex engineering in novel ways.”

Based on the studies of 20th century Swiss mathematician Paul Schatz, Festo's latest flying object is an engaging visualisation of this novel geometric structure.

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