Festo is at it again with robots shaped by biomimicry - this time, robotic butterflies.
(eMotionButterfly Ultralight Robot From Festo)
Coordinated flying thanks to indoor GPS with infrared cameras
Ten cameras installed in the room record the butterflies using their infrared markers. The cameras transmit the position data to a central master computer, which coordinates the butterflies from outside. The intelligent networking system creates a guidance and monitoring system, which could be used in the networked factory of the future.
Highly integrated research platforms with minimum use of materials
With the butterflies themselves, Festo is taking another step into the areas of miniaturisation, lightweight construction and functional integration. The eMotionButterflies impress with an intelligently employed mechanical system and the smallest possible power units in the tightest space. The reduced use of materials enables the true-to-nature flying behaviour.
Science fiction writers have long thought about mechanical insects and their possible uses - like the tiny scarab robot flying insect used for surveillance in a 1925 short story.
More recently, in his 1980 novel Changeling, Roger Zelazny writes about an artificial butterfly in a mechanized park:
He patted a dusty synthetic tree and crossed the unliving turf past holograms of swaying flowers to seat himself upon an orange plastic bench... Artificial butterflies darted along invisible beams... Concealed aerosols released the odors of flowers at regular intervals.
One of the fake butterflies passed too near, faltered and fell to the ground.