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Video: Festo's Dragonfly Robot Flies, Hovers & Glides
4/12/2013

Modeled after a dragonfly, Festo's latest sophisticated robot is the BionicOpter, which can independently move each of its wings to fly in any direction, as well as hover and glide.
  (Source: Festo)
Modeled after a dragonfly, Festo's latest sophisticated robot is the BionicOpter, which can independently move each of its wings to fly in any direction, as well as hover and glide.
(Source: Festo)

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: That's a cool robot
Rob Spiegel   4/15/2013 12:50:35 PM
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That makes sense, Ann. Could be that this technology will solve an automation need that is not apparent at this moment. Since we never know how new technology might be used, technology that is not need-based still has value. The guy at 3M who came up with the Post-It note certainly wasn't looking for a glue that wouldn't dry.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: That's a cool robot
Ann R. Thryft   4/15/2013 12:48:46 PM
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Thanks, Greg. I, too, thought the use of SMAs was a nifty innovation.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Festo's Dragonfly Robot Flies, Hovers & Glides
Ann R. Thryft   4/15/2013 12:46:22 PM
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Greg, thanks for your input. Festo is the only company who's made me link the words "robots" and "beautiful." But even aside from that, one of the most interesting things about them as a company is their use of vertical integration. It's reminiscent of IBM in the old days--superb technology, apparently deep pockets and a desire not just to do better than their competitors, but to make the best possible machines.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Festo Dragonfly
Ann R. Thryft   4/15/2013 12:33:34 PM
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Thanks, Al & Chuck, glad you liked it.

William K.
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Re: Festo's Dragonfly Robot Flies, Hovers & Glides
William K.   4/15/2013 12:06:37 PM
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I agree that this robotic dragonfly is on a level consistent with what Festo has done in the past. Festo is indeed a high quality product manufacturer. That part is certanly true.

I also agree that remote control with a dedicated remote control transmitter is a far better choice, not only because of having better range and easier control, but also to avoid using an expensive smartphone in an application that certaily can result in damage. LOts of folks have smartphones, but a dedicated tramsmitter would be a very worthwhile alternative. Besides, then the monitor screen could be a bit larger, so that we could better see what the dragonfly sees. After all, this one would be a very good surveilance platform.

sensor pro
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Re: That's a cool robot
sensor pro   4/15/2013 10:58:00 AM
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Great video. Impressive use of materials and Nitinol. Hope it will be available in a commerctial ki for hobby lovers. I hope this Germalengineering will not be costly.

tekochip
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Re: amaxing tech
tekochip   4/15/2013 10:34:53 AM
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Determining the aerodynamics, wing design, and wing motion must have been a tremendous feat. The first few test flights probably weren't very pretty.


CLMcDade
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amaxing tech
CLMcDade   4/15/2013 10:12:44 AM
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Ann,

This dragonfly is an amazing piece of technology, not only because of the very cool flying robot end-product but also because of the innovative melding of technologies and materials.

To address Rob's question, bluntly but not rudely, who cares what they are going to use it for?  Kudos to Festo for pursuing the projects they have undertaken - they are expanding the possibilities and our imaginations.  And if they have no end use in mind before development started, they deserve even more credit. 

Corporate America has become so focused on return on investment and the bottom line that it is holding money back from pure research for curiosity's sake.  Sometimes one should pursue curiosity, pursue the "what if..." just because the challenge is there.  There is rarely a lack of practical applications that can be imagined or developed after the fact.

I've watched the video 5 times and still wonder how does the thing actually fly?  And how did Festo figure out the wing movement to accomplish it? 

And in line with Elizabeth's comment, I have forwarded this link to a lot of my non-engineering, non-mechanical friends because they will appreciate it not for the engineering, but for its beauty, its unexpectedness and its artfulness.

Wonder - it's an amazing thing to inspire.

Elizabeth M
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Re: That's a cool robot
Elizabeth M   4/15/2013 4:54:04 AM
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Yes, that is a super-cool robot. And the video is actually quite beautiful. I like when science and art combine to create something technologically innovative but also creative. It seems like robot design, as it gets more sophisticated, is moving away from utilitarian design to something that is more artful.

AnandY
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Re : Video: Festo's Dragonfly Robot Flies, Hovers & Glides
AnandY   4/14/2013 3:07:08 AM
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@Ann, thanks for post. Kudos to Festo for creating this little robotic dragonfly. This just shows that there are many things we can learn from nature. Its not an easy task to mimic the energy-efficient principles already found in nature and Festo has done a pretty good job of implementing such solutions in its products. 

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