German robotics manufacturer Festo has launched a couple of new robotic animals into its collection and instead of the cuddly penguin, graceful dragonfly and well, hyperactive kangaroo it previously revealed, it’s taken the creepy route with a spider and a bat.
The company explained its BionicWheelBot robotic spider was inspired by the flic-flac spider that cannot only walk confidently on desert terrain, but can also roll to get to places faster on sand.
Festo’s creepy crawly has six legs for walking that convert into two wheels for rolling. The extra two legs fold out when in rolling mode to push the robot along. A sensor inside the spider intelligently detect the position of the robot so it can push off again when the wheels stop rolling.
The other new launch, the BionicFlyingFox was inspired by a fruit bat. It’s made from 3D-milled foam body and a carbon fibre skeleton to make it ultra-light. In fact, it only weighs 580g, making it perfect for flying through the skies.
The bats wings are covered in an ultra-thin membrane, comprising of two layers of airtight film made of knitted elastane. They’re welded together across 45,000 points to make it an ultra-strong, lightweight material. Because of its honeycomb makeup, the BionicFlyingFox can take to the skies even if there are minor rips in its wings.
The robotic bat is controlled for takeoff and landing via remote control, but when it’s in the air, it flies autonomously using ground-based infrared cameras that track four LEDs located on the bat’s legs and wings. The cameras send a flight plan to the computer and sends this to the robot, ensuring it sticks to the plan, avoiding objects and completing its missions successfully.