From FRANKFURT (Germany) – Researchers have long been keen on developing new technology by observing how nature works. Festo’s engineers are no exception. Last year, they unveiled their BionicKangaroo, an artificial marsupial which, like its namesake, can recover energy when jumping and store it for future use.
At this year’s Hannover Messe, the German automation expert presented a new bionic technology derived from another natural role model, the ant. For the first time, Festo not only copied the animal’s anatomy, but also mimicked its cooperative behavior and self-organization.
Designed to communicate using complex control algorithms linked to sensors, piezoelectric ceramic legs and 3D cameras, the BionicAnts (12 cm long and weighing 28 g) communicate via wireless technology. They can solve complex tasks as a group in a very efficient way without any human intervention.
According to Dr. Knubben, such technology could have promising applications in Industry 4.0 and the factory of the future, where communication, cooperation and interconnection will be the watchwords.