Upgraded Bionic Hand Could Take over Factory Jobs

Festo's latest bionics is intended to help systems smoothly adapt to industrial changes.
Fabienne Lang

As industrial changes move swiftly forward, the interactions between people, machines, and data have to keep pace. Robots and humans are working more and more closely together as time goes on, and in order for this process to keep working seamlessly, adaptations and changes need to happen. 

The German-based company, Festo, does just that. It has presented its latest bionics that are intended to help its clients with these industrial changes. 

You can welcome the BionicMobileAssistant and the feathered BionicSwift, the bionic robotic arms that move independently. 


Prototype of the robotic arm

Festo is known for developing incredibly real life-like bionic creations, such as its recent bionic swallow that moves just like a bird.

Now, its BionicMobileAssistant is basically a bionic arm that swivels on a rolling ball and uses wonderfully human-like hand movements to pick up objects. It moves independently in three dimensions, can identify objects, grip them, and work alongside humans. 

It operates thanks to a mobile robot on a spherical wheel, an electric robotic arm, and the new BionicSoftHand 2.0, a pneumatic grip that looks just like a hand. 

The bionic hand uses valve technology, sensors, electronics, and mechanical components to operate smoothly. The index finger and the thumb are made of flexible structures with air chambers, and are covered by a flexible yet hardy knitted fabric.

The mobile assistant would be ideal to use as a personal assistant to people, a bit like a service robot, or as a helping hand in an assembly line in a factory — something that could alleviate humans from carrying out monotonous and ergonomically tough tasks and maneuvers. 

Furthermore, these could also prove useful for taking over simple tasks in places where the risk of infection is high or where personnel is lacking. 

It's interesting to see what Festo will keep coming up with, back in 2018 the team created a bionic flying fox that operates just like a bat. 

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