Researchers like to use nature as inspiration for robots, but these are the most impressive yet.

German robotics company, Festo, is bringing robotic insects to a whole new level. Just look at their robotic butterfly in the video below.

These robotic butterflies make it look easy thanks to ten cameras installed in the room. The cameras record the butterflies using their infrared markers. This data is fed to a central master computer, which coordinates the butterflies’ movements using GPS.

This coordination even works for groups of butterflies.

Weight is key for the robotic butterflies to fly. Festo uses wafer-thin carbon rods and elastic capacitor film. Festo says, “as the wings slightly overlap, an air gap is created between them when they beat, which gives the butterflies their special aerodynamics.”

Bionic Ants

bionic ants

While robotic butterflies take to the skies, robotic ants scurry on the ground. “Like their natural role models, the BionicANTs work together under clear rules,” according to Festo.

Festo imagines how the cooperative behavior in these bionic ants could translate to the ‘factory of tomorrow.’

Even the design nails down details seen in its natural inspiration, down to mouth instruments used for gripping objects.

A 3D stereo camera are its ‘eyes’ and help it identify the gripping object. It also helps tell the ant where it is at in its environment.

Two rechargeable batteries gives the ants 40 minutes of work time. As for rules, these are figured out in advance using mathematical modeling and simulations. They are then stored in every ant.

A Gripper Modeled After a Chameleon’s Tongue

flex shape gripper

This might be the coolest of them all. It’s called FlexShapeGripper and it’s modeled after a chameleon’s tongue. Check out the video below.

“The FlexShapeGripper can pick up, gather and set back down several objects with the widest range of shapes in one procedure – without the need for a manual conversion. This is made possible by its water-filled silicone cap, which wraps itself around the items being gripped in a flexible and form-fitting manner,” Festo writes.

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