German automation company Festo is quite known for making bionic versions of all sorts of animals, such as a kangaroo, a bird, and even ants. Now, their new additions to their lineup of robotic wildlife include a flying fox and a spider.
The BionicWheelBot, modeled after the flic-flac spider, can morph its body to roll on the ground (where it moves twice as fast) and is adaptable to different surfaces. The bot’s page on Festo site says, “In order to start rolling, the BionicWheelBot bends three legs each on the left and right of its body to make a wheel. Two legs folded up whilst walking then extend, push the rolled-up spider off the ground, and continuously push it forward whilst rolling.”
Their other creation, the BionicFlyingFox has “a wingspan of 228 cm and a body length of 87 cm” and weighs only 580 g. Its wings and feet are covered by a thin, elastic membrane that allows a “low area loading”. The bot operates with a motion-tracking system that records its starting position, allowing it to fly semi-autonomously.
Most may think that these are just quirky bots made and sold for novelty but they are actually created for figuring out tricky situations by themselves. We’re secretly hoping they don’t make more robots based on insects.