Festo produce some of the most remarkable biology inspired robots. Their latest offering is a robotic dragonfly called the BionicOpter. It has a wingspan of 63cm and weighs just 175grams and can mimic all the forms of flight of a real dragonfly including up and down, forwards, backwards and to the side. The flapping wing design of the BionicOpter enables it to fly in all directions in space and hover in mid-air just like a helicopter.
A smartphone can be used to control the BionicOpter remotely, commanding speed and direction. A microcontroller translate these parameters and actuates nine servomotors to produce movement using beat frequency, a swivel device and the amplitude controller.
I’ve seen one of their AirPenguins and it just seemed to effortlessly glide along. The SmartBird and AquaJelly are two other favourites of mine. I can’s wait to see what their next developments are.