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World record for Festo’s BionicOpter

December 2019 News

The Festo BionicOpter will be included in the 2020 Guinness World Records. The chapter ‘Robots’ presents the most amazing records from the world of super robots and artificial intelligence. The Festo BionicOpter, an ultra-light flying object based on the dragonfly has scooped the world record title for the biggest flying robotic insect. “It is fascinating what we can learn from nature,” says Karoline von Häfen, head of Corporate Bionic Projects at Festo. “Curiosity and joy in innovation drive us to keep trying new things. We are very pleased to be included in the Guinness World Records – it is great validation.”

Inspired by dragonfly flight

After bird flight had been deciphered with the SmartBird in 2011, the developers took on their next big challenge in the Bionic Learning Network: modelling the dragonfly at a technical level. The BionicOpter is an ultralight flying object. Just like its model in nature, the BionicOpter can fly in all directions and execute the most complicated flight manoeuvres. Its 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 corrects any vibrations during flight and ensures flight stability. In order to stabilise 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.


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