Lightweight robot with natural movement patterns

Sensitive and gentle or powerful and dynamic – the BionicMotionRobot’s movements are inspired by an elephant’s trunk and an octopus’s tentacles. The pneumatic lightweight robot features 12 degrees of freedom and, with a payload of three kilograms, can carry approximately its own weight.

The BionicMotionRobot’s arm consists of three flexible basic segments, which are each moved by four pneumatic bellows. The complex control and regulation of the twelve flexible bellows structures is performed by a Festo Motion Terminal VTEM . An optical shape sensor along the system’s longitudinal axis records the position, shape and interactions of the whole kinematics. Thanks to this modular design, the robot arm can simultaneously bend in three different directions and smoothly perform the natural movements of its biological role models.

New fibre technology for full power potential

The bellows are made of sturdy elastomer. Each them is covered with a special 3D textile knitted fabric, which functions in an amazingly similar way to nature. Just like the muscle fibres in an octopus’s tentacles, its filaments are oriented so that they allow the bellow structures to expand in the required direction of movement whilst limiting this in the other directions. It is only thanks to this new fibre technology that the power potential of the entire kinematics can be exploited.

Pliable kinematics based on a natural role model

The concept of the pliable kinematics is based on the Bionic Handling Assistant from 2010, which received the German Future Award for its safe collaboration between humans and machines. Since then, we have been working intensively on systems that could relieve people of monotonous activities and at the same time pose no risk. This aspect is becoming increasingly important in everyday factory life.

Taking the strain in the collaborative workspaces of the future

Industrial change demands a new kind of interaction between humans, machines and data. Alongside the digital networking of entire facilities, robot-based automation solutions capable of working hand in hand with people in the future play a particularly critical role in this development.

Due to its safe interaction and the natural motion sequences, the BionicMotionRobot has great potential in a wide range of industries. It could be used as a helping third hand in assembly and take the strain off humans, especially when it comes to monotonous, mindless or even dangerous activities.