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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Soft Robotics wins German Innovation Prize 2010

At an official award ceremony held on the evening of 1 December 2010, Germany’s President, Christian Wulff, presented Dr. Peter Post and Markus Fischer of Festo and Andrzej Grzesiak of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) with the 250,000-euro “Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2010”.

Bionic Handling Assistant

The Bionic Handling Assistant is a light, free-moving “third hand” system. Thanks to its structural compliance, direct contact between humans and machines humans and machine is now no longer a danger.

The research team developed the Bionic Handling Assistant within the framework of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network. Its structure and function were inspired by the elephant’s trunk. The flexible assistance system allows humans and machines to work together safely and efficiently as a team for the first time. Possible areas of use therefore include industry, agriculture, the home and even care facilities.

Freedom of movement and adaptive gripping
Eleven degrees of freedom open up a host of task-specific transport directions which, in contrast to conventional handling systems, are not restricted to linear axes. Sensors detect the paths and precisely adjust the system. The adaptive fingers grasp objects positively and non-positively and make the system a genuine assistant when it comes to sorting and moving sensitive objects or supporting assembly processes.
About Festo
Festo is a leading international supplier of automation technology. With its innovations and problem-solving expertise in the field of pneumatics and electronics, the company has established itself as the performance leader in its sector. Festo’s innovative strength is demonstrated by over 100 new products which it launches every year and the 2,900 patents it holds worldwide. Its new approach to product development using bionics and biomechatronics within the framework of the Bionic Learning Network, represents a true first in the field of automation technology.
About Fraunhofer IPA
The research and development focus of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA is on organizational and technological tasks related to production. Since 2005, the institute has been aiding partners and clients both in the planning and design of new products as well as the redesigning and optimization of existing product lines using generative manufacturing processes.

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