A fish caused wonder: new swimming data collection robot inspired by nature

11 September 2018

Credit: Festo

The undulating fin movements of marine animals such as the cuttlefish have provided the inspiration for a new Bionic concept swimming robot from industrial automation specialists Festo.

Called the Bionic FinWave, its ability to negotiate pipework while transmitting valuable data about parameters – such as temperature and pressure – was identified during research within the Bionic Learning Network, demonstrating that the technology has further development potential in process industry applications.

Festo Bionic projects like FinWave are proof-of-technology demonstrators. Using lessons from nature, combined with the latest ideas from Festo’s research departments, they present complex technology in a graphic and interesting way – generating discussion and engagement with customers and future partners.

The Bionic FinWave features a fin drive unit that is particularly suitable for slow, precise motion and causes less turbulence in the water than, for instance, a conventional screw propulsion drive. With this form of propulsion, the underwater robot can manoeuvre itself autonomously – while communicating wirelessly with the outside world and transmitting data to the cloud or a local tablet.

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