The PowerGripper, which mimics a bird's beak, employs Watt's linkage as a motion principle. It also uses Festo's fluidic muscle, a new type of pneumatic drive that enables motion sequences approaching human movement. The NanoForceGripper, not pictured, is modeled on a gecko's feet and is designed to grip very delicate objects with smooth surfaces, such as glasses or displays, using almost no energy. (Source: Festo)
An egg is a perfect experiment, although I think a hardboiled one makes more sense. A raw egg can be tough to grasp correctly without breaking it by a human hand attached to a human paying close attention (I speak from experience...).
,,,or an egg. They would even impress me if it were a hard-boiled egg. You'd still see a shell crack if the grip was too abrupt. Regardless, the devices all do seem quite well-engineered. I guess the wisdom in this is for us all to continue to mimic nature, which has countless perfect designs. Thanks for the chat.
This is great engineering for robot end of arm tooling. The gripping motion seems smooth and solid. I have seen many times where a company will put in a 100,000 dollar robot cel, but the end of arm tooling looks like an Erector set.
Ann, the point I specifically admired was in the 2nd video, (Festo Power Gripper) during the first video segment of the 3-piece mechanical claw. This device was constructed with (3) grippers, radially spaced at 120° and showed the grasping motion while closing. Unfortunately the vide showed the gripper closing onto nothing (no target object; only air) but that gave a clear view of the effect I described as first snapping, then slowing to a controlled pressure grasp. Apparently, a very natural mimicry.
Nice to see designers looking to nature for inspiration. Who knows how many design iterations had to take place to end up with the various functional forms of birds' beaks? As a designer, I've often turned to nature to get some insight into some difficult mechanical structures. Thanks for the article.
Festo is definitely the leader of biomimicry based robotic systems as evident by this article and past ones written. I can see why animals are used as the inspirational force behind their designs because of their agility and speed. Manufacturing processes need to be lean and efficient. By using robots with the animal agilities, parts assembly processes,for example, can be expedited with ease. The Festo product videos are great to look at as well. Great article.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
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