Festo eMotionButterflies: ultra-light flying objects with collective behavior


Ultralight flying objects with collective behavior

Flying is a recurring theme in the Bionic Learning Network. Our insights from the BionicOpter and eMotionSpheres projects were incorporated into the development of bionic butterflies. They combine the ultralight design of artificial insects with coordinated, collective flight behavior.

Coordinated flying thanks to indoor GPS with infrared cameras

Ten cameras installed in the room record the butterflies via two infrared markers on their wings. The cameras transmit the position data to a central master computer, which coordinates the butterflies from the outside. Intelligent networking creates a control and monitoring system that could be used in the networked factory of the future.

To get as close as possible to the flight of their natural role model, the eMotionButterflies are equipped with highly integrated on-board electronics. It can control the wings precisely and individually and thus implement the fast movements. Since the wings overlap slightly, an air gap is created between them during flapping, which gives the artificial butterflies their special aerodynamics.

Highly integrated research test beds with minimal material usage

With the eMotionButterflies, we are taking another step in the Bionic Learning Network in the areas of miniaturization, lightweight construction and functional integration. The butterflies impress with intelligently used mechanics and the smallest possible aggregates in the smallest installation space. The reduced use of materials enables lifelike flight behavior.