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Festo AirJelly: first indoor flying object with peristaltic propulsion


First indoor flying object with peristaltic propulsion

The AirJelly has eight adaptive tentacles so that its movements come as close as possible to the biological role model. These take up the power of the electric drive and let the artificial jellyfish float with the recoil principle. In contrast to its natural counterpart, the AirJelly does not glide through the water, but through the air.

The AirJelly is a real lightweight: with a diameter of 1.35 meters and a height of 2.20 meters, the flying object weighs only 1.3 kilograms. In addition to the central electric drive, the body also contains the batteries and a helium-filled ballonet, which provides the necessary buoyancy. Control within three-dimensional space is achieved by shifting the weight. In combination with peristaltic propulsion, the remote-controlled jellyfish can float in any direction.

Unique flying maneuvers thanks to Fin Ray Effect®

For the design of the eight tentacles, our developers use a natural mechanism of action: the Fin Ray Effect®. Each tentacle consists of an alternating tension and compression flank, which are articulated with ribs. When pressure is applied to a flank, the geometric structure automatically curves against the direction of force. This allows the flying jellyfish to move through the air using the recoil principle of its biological role model.

This is a real highlight of our Bionic Learning Network, because a peristaltic drive of this kind has not previously been known in the history of aviation.