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Festo's 3D printed semi-automatic robotic flying fox has a wingspan of more than seven feet.
Apr 09, 2018

We've seen a lot of examples of 3D printing techniques that are used to mimic the various things in nature, especially the unique movements and other aspects of animal behavior.The latest breakthrough came from a German electronics company that has 3D printed the robot replicas of flying foxes, which are native to parts of Asia and australasia.Made of 3D printed parts and elastic fabrics, the fully functional BionicFlyingFox can soar in the air in a similar way to the creation of nature.


Festo manufactures a wide range of electronic devices and has been experimenting with aerodynamics in robot designs, especially in nature.The BionicFlyingFox project is the result of this study, and 3D printing makes it very close to the aerodynamic model of the world's largest bat.

The real animal flaps its wings to push its body, using its fingers under its wings to help guide its flight path.Its wing membrane is a very important part of flight, made of lightweight elastic material and has many of the same characteristics as feathers for birds.


In Festo's artificial prototype, engineers use carbon rods to create the body of a bionic flying fox, as well as various 3D printing parts to help it move effectively.In order to reproduce the skin of bat wings, they used thin elastic fabrics.Because of its high elasticity, spandex is commonly used in clothing such as underwear and skinny jeans.

The completed BionicFlyingFox has a wingspan of more than 7 feet (228 cm), almost 3 feet (87 centimeters) long, but weighs relatively light, weighing just 580 grams.It has about 45,000 welding points, reflecting the correctness of the design and the extraordinary complexity of many natural creations such as flying foxes (technically known as Pteropus).The machine can complete the scheduled flight path, requiring only one operator to take off and land using an infrared camera.

According to a spokesman for Festo, "to enable the bionic flying fox to move semi-automatically in a certain space, it communicates with a motion tracking system.The device keeps track of its location, a person performs the start and landing manually, and the autopilot takes over in flight."


BionicFlyingFox's video screen is impressive.It is able to subside in a bumpy dive and slide gently into the ground without colliding with or being disturbed by the surroundings.This is an example of 3 d printing technology involved in design improvement potential and relatively cheap material and process how to really let the engineers to get creative, robot show at the same time increase the accessibility of various properties and potential.

Festo has created a variety of other impressive natural biological replicas, including engineering challenges and design possibilities presented by various organic structures.Past successes include replicas of butterflies, intelligent dragonfly robots and bionic hopping kangaroos, and AirPenguin, but it does not mimic it as faithfully as its natural rivals.

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