Festo’s Bionic Flower – A Bionically Inspired Robot Teaching Aid
By Festo Canada
Mississauga, ON, December 2020 – Festo is renowned for its bionic creatures – robotic fauna that fly, crawl, scamper or swim and point the way to possible commercial developments that mimic actions in nature. Now, Festo Didactic, the leader in basic and advanced training solutions for industry, has unveiled the Bionic Flower, a construction kit for today’s young STEM students inspired by the world of flora.
Festo Didactic developed Bionic Flower in cooperation with SkySpirit, basing it on models of mimosa plants and water lilies. The Bionic Flower opens and closes its petals as a reaction to external influences such as touch, proximity or light. These mechanisms can be discovered by pupils using sensors and control technology integrated in the Bionic Flower. The design, as well as the transfer of principles from the plant world, encompasses multiple curriculum topics in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. The topic of biodiversity can also be discussed in class.
One Bionic Flower can be used by up to three students aged 10 and over. The petals contain the first bionic topic: the folding technique. The petals gain the necessary mechanical stiffness by folding. The mechanism for opening and closing the petals is electrically actuated with a stepper motor which opens and closes the petals one by one. The movement and the light effects are controlled via Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, tablets or PCs. If required, the microcontroller can be programmed with the graphic coding interface “Open Roberta”. Experienced students can also program their Bionic Flower in C++. The code is open source. In addition to assembling the Bionic Flower, students can customize and expand on the Bionic Flower by using 3D printers, other materials, hardware and software.
Accompanying teaching material, as well as the assembly manual, can be downloaded free of charge.
With the Bionic Flower, students learn different aspects of STEM in a digital, creative and interdisciplinary way. Working with the device promotes the educational 4Cs –collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity – to prepare learners for the digital world of tomorrow.
Festo at a glance
Festo, the world’s leading supplier of automation technology and technical education, is deploying its products and services to meet the challenges of digitization and smart production. Founded in 1925, the family owned company based in Esslingen, Germany supports a wide range of needs for advanced solutions in factory and process automation. In Canada, Festo has been supporting Canadian industry for over 40 years, continuously elevating the state of manufacturing in this country with innovative products, optimized motion control solutions and unrivalled support. Globally, some 300,000 customers put their trust in the company’s pneumatic and electric drive products and technology. In addition, Festo Didactic provides state-of-the-art training equipment and educational programs for industrial companies and educational institutions. The Festo Group registered sales of around €3.2 billion in the 2018 financial year and is represented worldwide at 250 locations with a total of 20,200 employees. About 8% of its annual turnover is invested in research and development.