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BionicWheelBot, the bionic spider

March 30, 2018.


BionicWheelBot. © Festo AG & Co. KG.

The BionicWheelBot is a new octopod robot whose design is inspired by the gymnast spider cebrennus rechenbergi, an arthropod discovered a decade ago in the southern Morocco desert, with locomotion that’s adapted to the dunes. The machine is developed by German firm Festo, which has previously developed a bionic kangaroo and a robotic arm in the shape of an elephant trunk, and has made a foray into the insect world with robots in the shape of an ant and a butterfly. Fifteen motors housed the joints and body control the BionicWheelBot’s legs. Just like the gymnast spider, it can roll like a ball by retracting six of its legs while using the other two to push the ground on each rotation. Thanks to an integrated inertial sensor, the robot keeps track of its position and knows when to give itself a push. At the same time, Festo unveiled an elegant bionic bat dubbed BionicFlyFox, which can fly semi-independently within a defined space, by communicating with a movement tracking system that continuously registers its position (these are the mobile cameras that you can see in the video below). Its wingspan measures 2.28 metres, and the machine weighs 580 grams. These two robots are demonstrations of know-how intended to highlight the company’s abilities in the area of bionic design, rather than products destined to be sold commercially.


BionicFlyFox. © Festo AG & Co. KG.

Circuit Breaker, “This bionic spider can curl up and do somersaults.”