Festo BionicOpter is the Next Step in Flying Robots; Mimics a Natural Dragonfly

April 4, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The German automation company Festo had been looking forward to building a flying robot and they definitely came up with something more unique and efficient.

That’s when they came to study and learn about the flying mechanisms of dragonflies and this intrigued them. The inspiration resulted in BionicOpter, an artificial flying robot that looks like and mimics a natural Dragonfly in all its aspects.

The robot looks absolutely promising and the real sci-fi-ness will come into effect when its miniature version that has the same size of an actual dragon rolls out.


This baby can be controlled via a smartphone app and it is definitely high tech. This BionicOpter can fly in all directions, hover and glide without beating its wings just like a real dragonfly.

A real dragonfly can hover, fly backwards and glide without moving its wings. They align their wind stroke planes to be nearly normal to the direction of the total force produced during the movements called the thrust.

Mimicking the exact movements, the BionicOpter has four wings that are equipped with amplitude controllers, which allow the intensity of the thrust to be controlled making it possible for the robot to change itself into any flying any position in space.

Measuring the length, this baby currently accounts to 19 inches and weighs in at 175 grams. With a wingspan of about 27 inches, its wings are made of foil and carbon fiber and can be moved individually by small servo-motors.

With 13 degrees of freedom of which nine are from the movement of wings, the other four are from head and tail.

A single ARM microprocessor controls the whole robot as such and this technology could very well revolutionize the aviation industry by enhancing the precision and flight performance of almost all types of helicopters.

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