I’m not completely certain what all the Festo company does, but they certainly know how to do an attention getting demo!
Their robotics people take bioinspiration seriously, as I noted in an earlier post about their butterfly robot. I mean, was there ever a more attractive flying robot?
This month they showed off the butterfly and two other bioinspired flyers at a festival in DC. (Evan Ackerman still has the coolest job!)
OK, these are awesome!
Markus Schäffer says that these flyers are extremely energy efficient, no doubt partly because of the bioinspired designs. For one thing, they are capable of slow but exquisitely controlled flight, assuring long cruise times. These are not hunters (though they might soon be ‘prey’).
Obviously, the jellyfish thing (AirJelly) is the most interesting. (And it’s been around since 2009!)
Bioinspired? lighter than air? When can I get one that I can ride in??
Schäffer indicates that the ‘tentacles’ actually work like a jelly fish, steering up and down. And there is a pendulum inside that maneuvers the flyer with small motors. This is so cool!