Bionic Handling Assistant finds second home at the Deutsches Museum

Winner of the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2010 included in the "Hall of Fame"
(from left to right): Dr. Peter Post, Head of Research and Programme Strategy Festo, Markus Fischer, Head of Corporate Design Festo and Andrzej Grzesiak, Fraunhofer Institut IPA (PresseBox) (Esslingen, ) Festo celebrated a very special success in 2010: the company was distinguished with the Deutscher Zukunftspreis for its bionic handling assistant created in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute IPA. The Bionic Handling Assistant will now receive a special place in the "Hall of Fame", a space dedicated to the winners of the Deutscher Zukunftspreis at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, and will thus join the ranks along with other significant technical innovations. The Deutsches Museum welcomed the bionic handling assistant to its location as part of the festive opening ceremony on the 15th of September.

"We're proud to make the Handling Assistant accessible to large numbers of people at the Deutsches Museum. We're very pleased to be able to demonstrate to visitors the magnitude of the technological breakthrough which has been achieved by means of this project", remarked award winner Dr. Peter Post at the ceremonial unveiling of the exhibition model. Visitors will be able to marvel at the Bionic Handling Assistant for the next ten years at the hall of fame for winners of the Deutscher Zukunftspreis at the Deutsches Museum. With the help of four sub-modules, visitors will experience exactly what it is that distinguishes the innovation developed by Festo and Fraunhofer, and be able to see the Handling Assistant in action.

Inspired by the elephant's trunk

Flexible motion and precise gripping: the Bionic Handling Assistant is a pliant gripper arm whose structure and overall mode of operation are based on those of the elephant's trunk. Previously used, conventional systems and industrial robots are far less pliant, and must be kept behind bars for safety reasons. The Bionic Handling Assistant is different: its use as a personal assistant is conceivable for industrial and household applications, allowing for safe interaction between people and technology thanks to its highly flexible nature. This was honoured by German Federal President Christian Wulff in 2010 with the Deutscher Zukunftspreis.

Ideas platform for new developments

But winning the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is not the end of the story for the Bionic Handling Assistant. Festo has already presented several further developments at the 2011 Hanover Trade Fair. For example, the gripper fingers now have a sense of touch, i.e. they are equipped with pressure sensors, making it possible for the assistant to grip objects more or less firmly as required. Another important development, Robotino® XT, is targeted at making the assistant mobile. With its Robotino® XT, Festo has united the mobile learning system with the Bionic Handling Assistant, thus making it possible to pick up and grip objects at floor level. Thanks to continuous optimisation of individual technologies, the engineers and designers are not only advancing the Bionic Handling Assistant itself. Rather, as a technology architect, Festo offers its partners and customers complex knowledge and various approaches for the mutual development of new products and the improvement of existing ones.

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Festo AG & Co. KG
Ruiter Strasse 82
D-73734 Esslingen
Henriette Wielandt
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