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Animal robots

Recently a couple of amazing animal robots have emerged from the woodwork. These state of the art robotic creatures imitate the movement of living creatures so well it’s hard to tell them apart.

Dragonfly robot

The BionicOpter is a dragonfly robot, from German technology company Festo. Here is what they say:

With the BionicOpter, Festo has technically mastered the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly. Just like its model in nature, this ultralight flying object can fly in all directions, hover in mid-air and glide without beating its wings.”

This precision engineered remote-controlled robot employs 13 maneuverability parameters, including the tilt, flapping frequency and intensity of thrust of the wings. The speed and synchrony with which all the BionicOpter’s motors and sensors work is truly amazing.

BionicOpter

Find out more on the Festo website

Salamader robot

Salamandra Robotica II from l’Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne Biorobitics Lab is based on the movement – and general activities – of a salamander. ‘General activities’, because the amazing feature of this animal robot is that it can both walk and swim!

This amphibious robot actually uses a digital model of a salamander’s neural circuitry, imitating not only how it moves its limbs but also how the lizard actually initiates the movement through its nervous system.

Gecko robot

Developed by a team at Stanford University over the past few years, the StickyBot is already well established in the field of animal robots. The incomprehensible adhesion of the gecko robot is achieved using feet made of ‘dry adhesive’ materials. To learn more about how engineers managed to replicate the stickiness of gecko feet, sit back and enjoy this classic 2002 TED talk on the subject by UC Berkeley biologist, Robert Full:

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