Biomimicry: Bionic Ants for future’s factory workers


Biomimicry has always fascinated developers, every now and then they try mimicking nature into the human work force. This time, Festo, German technology firm, has come up with human hand sized robotic ants, which the developers envision might collaborate on factory production systems in the near future.

Festo added that the ants are not only the bionic version but they have also tried to emulate the collective intelligence of an ant colony. This feature would assist individual components in adjusting to different production demands as and when required. For instance, mutually the ants can carry large and bulky logs from one setting to another, which otherwise would seem impossible by a single ant.


Transferring natural phenomena to engineering techniques

Stereo camera and a floor sensor are embedded in individual ant bot that helps each in locating its working zone and in identifying objects that require to be grabbing up. The lithium-powered ants take in charging through their antennas while a radio module located in their abdomen helps them in communicating wirelessly. In order to keep the natural setting as such, the ant robots are provided with six articulated legs.


Festo said that the ants are fabricated in an innovation style by making use of plastic powder that is first melted and then placed layer by layers in 3D fashion. The body’s circuitry over the top too is printed in 3D. This technique has been employed by the first time, added the firm.


The ceramic legs and pincers are responsible for the moving as well as controlling mechanism of the bionic ants. Both the actuators are flexible that gives them swift reflexes without exhausting much energy. Here, Festo has utilized the benefit of an application called piezo technology.

The technology firm envisions that their bionic ants would be of great help to companies that produce customized products where their product would automatically adjust to different production requirements.

Source: Festo

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