Design and Technology
My Own Personal Yellow Brick Road
Flying Penguins!
Categories: Cool Stuff

Just thought I’d share this as I think they are one of the coolest robotics developments out there:

AirPenguin – autonomously flying robotic penguins

With the AirPenguins, the engineers from Festo have created artificial penguins and have taught them “autonomous flight in the sea of air”. For this purpose, control and regulating technology had to be further developed into self-regulating biomechatronic systems, which could also play a future role in adaptive production.

A group of three autonomously flying penguins hovers freely through a defined air space that is monitored by ultrasound transmission stations. The penguins are at liberty to move within this space; a microcontroller gives them free will in order to explore it.

The bionic Fin Ray® structure, derived from the anatomy of a fish’s fin, was extended here for the first time to applications in three-dimensional space. If the 3D Fin Ray® structure of the head and tail sections is transferred to the requirements of automation technology, it can be used for instance in a flexible tripod with a very large scope of operation in comparison with conventional tripods.


Excerpt from  

Video from

This is not just a case of ‘cool, we made a flying penguin’ the tech involved in making the penguins so flexible can be applied in some really cool areas for example…

The Festo BionicTripod with FinGripper! (great name isn’t it)

This amazing piece of kit has taken the bionic Fin Ray® structure used in the flexible nose and tail sections of the AirPenguin and applied it to a versatile gripping device. It can grip varying irregularly shaped objects in direct sucession without needing calibration, as it is so flexible it can grip very delicate objects like the lightbulbs below. This has so many potential applications, areas that a delicate, complex grip is needed but the human hand can’t go, production lines that could produce differently shaped objects without needing a seperate peice of kit for each product. So cool.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.