Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Features Robotics Technology
Festo’s BionicOpter robot claims Guinness World Record


September 24, 2019
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Topics
Festo's BionicOpter robot.

September 23, 2019 – Festo’s BionicOpter, an ultra-light flying object based on the dragonfly, has landed in the Guinness World Records for biggest flying robotic insect. 

The chapter “Robots” presents the records involving super robots and artificial intelligence. 

After the automation and robotics specialist had deciphered bird flight with the SmartBird in 2011, Festo developers took on their next biggest challenge in the company’s Bionic Learning Network: modelling the dragonfly at a technical level.

Just like its model in nature, the BionicOpter can fly in all directions and execute complicated flight manoeuvres. The BionicOpter’s ability to move each of its wings independently enables it to slow down and turn abruptly, to accelerate swiftly and even to fly backwards. This means that, for the first time, there is a model that can master all the flight conditions of a helicopter, plane and even a glider. Despite its complexity, the highly integrated system can be operated easily and intuitively via a smartphone.

The principles of ultra-lightweight construction are applied throughout the flying object. With a wingspan of 63 cm and a body length of 44 cm, the model dragonfly weighs just 175 grams. The wings consist of a carbon-fibre frame and a thin foil covering. The intelligent kinematics correct any vibrations during flight and ensure flight stability. In order to stabilize the flying object, data on the position and the twisting of the wings is continuously recorded and evaluated in real time during the flight of the dragonfly.

“It is fascinating what we can learn from nature. Curiosity and joy in innovation drive us to keep trying new things. We are very pleased to be included in Guinness World Records – it’s a great validation,” says Karoline von Häfen, head of corporate bionic projects at Festo.