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 guidance and control of the 12 flexible bellows structures is assumed by a Festo Motion Terminal. An optical shape sensor along the system’s longitudinal axis records the position, shape and interactions of the whole kinematics. This modular construction allows the robot arm to bend in three different directions simultaneously and to fluently perform the natural movements of its biological role models.
New fibre technology for full power potential
The bellows are made of sturdy elastomer. Each one of them is covered with a special 3D textile knitted fabric, which reveals an amazing analogy with nature in terms of its function. Just like the muscle fibres in an octopus’s tentacle, its filaments are oriented so that they allow the bellow structures to expand in the required direction of movement and at the same time limit this in the other directions. It is only thanks to this new fibre technology that the power potential of the whole kinematics can be exploited.
Supple kinematics based on a natural role model
The concept of the flexible kinematics is based on the Bionic Handling Assistant from 2010, which, due to the harmless collaboration between man and machine, was given the German Future Award. Since then, Festo has been looking intensively into systems that could relieve people of monotonous activities and at the same time pose no risk – an aspect that is becoming increasingly important in everyday factory life.
Relief in the collaborative working spaces of the future
The industrial change requires a new way for humans, machines and data to interact. Besides the digital networking of entire facilities, above all robot-based automation solutions, which in future can work hand in hand with people, play a critical role in this development.
Based on its safe interaction and the natural motion sequences, the BionicMotionRobot has great potential in a wide range of industries: especially when it comes to monotonous, mindless or even dangerous activities, it could be used as a helping third hand in assembly and relieve humans.