Festo seems to be doing a lot of great things with biomickry and design. This is a pretty interesting interpretation of bringing animal-like movements to a gripping type of robot. Is the idea that the robot machinery gains dexterity because of this motion?
I was also surprised to find out how many different innovative projects Festo has done in biomimicry, many of them robotic, such as the AquaPenguin and Aqua Jelly in our Nautical Robot slideshow:
In this case, the idea of the grippers is better energy-efficiency, with high gripping force-to-weight ratios, so there's less wasted motion.
One of the subtle effects (I think) appears that the gripping motion closes with a variable force. It appeared as if the closing motion commenced with a quick snap shut, but slowed to a less forceful, yet sufficiently firm grip on the target, so as to ensure handling without crushing. Might have been neat to see them pick up an egg, for example.
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.
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.
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.
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