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Germany Tech Company Festo Develops Plastic "Elephant Trunk"

8 years ago611 views

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It looks a like a cross between a robot and an elephant.

This is the "handling assistan"' by German company Festo - who were inspired by the elephant's trunk.

Upsot: German Voice over.

The trunk has just the qualities that robot developers are looking for - strength, accuracy, maneuverability.

Festo's head of research, Peter Post, says they looked to the natural world for answers to technical problems.

[Peter Post, Festo]:
"We are looking at solution principles in nature, looking how nature is solving one or the other problem and then trying to learn from nature and transfer it into our technical world."

The design is driven by compressed air power and has an intelligent control systems and, importantly, soft plastic parts rather than metal.

[Peter Post, Festo]:
"The most interesting thing here is that we have a flexible arm that can be used in a safe and harmonic combination with man so that man and technik are working in close connection. We don't have hard parts (seen) in other robotic applications."

The handling assistant is designed with industry in mind - helping out in situations where dexterity and accuracy are crucial - like car making - where automation is already highly developed.

Peter Post, Festo]:
"We think that we can use it in working places in the context of automation where you have to put parts together, where you need a third arm which carries things to you for the final assembly."

An elephant may seem like an unlikely inspiration for operations requiring such delicacy but Festo believes potential clients will be impressed..and that they'll never forget.

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