Festo isn't quite the household name that Boston Dynamics is. (And, really, we're not entirely sure Big Dog is a regular topic of conversation at dinner tables yet.) But, it certainly deserves just as much attention for the work they're doing with robotics. After crafting a machine last year that soared around like a herring gull, now the company has created BionicOpter. The 17.3-inch long dragonfly drone can flutter through the air in any direction, and even hover, just like its biological inspiration. Its four carbon fiber and foil wings beat up to 20 times per-second, propelling it through the air as if it were swimming rather than flying. Actually piloting the robo-bug is achieved through a smartphone app, but an on-board ARM-based microcontroller makes small adjustments to ensure stability during flight. There are a few important pieces of information we don't have just yet. For one, it's not clear how long the two-cell lithium ion battery will last, and pricing or availability are missing from the brochure (at the source link). Chances are though, you'll never be able to afford one any way. Thankfully you can at least see this marvel of engineering in action after the break.
Filed under: Robots