project specification

BionicANT

An integrated individual robotics system to solve a common task. BionicANTs work together under clear rules. They communicate with each other and coordinate both their actions and movements. Each ant makes its decisions autonomously, but in doing so is always subordinate to the common objective and thereby plays its part towards solving the task in hand. By pushing and pulling together, the artificial ants move an object across a defined area. Thanks to this intelligent division of work, they are able to efficiently transport loads that a single ant could not move.

Specifications

Length 135 mm
Height 43 mm
Width 150 mm
Weight105 g
Step size 10 mm
Material, body and legs polyamide, laser-sintered
Material, feelers spring steel
Power: Rechargeable batteries380 mAh Li-Po batteries in series, 8.4 V
3D MID laser structuring, gold plating by Lasermicronics
Actuator technology, gripper 2 trimorphic piezo-ceramic
Actuator technology, legs: 18 trimorphic piezo-ceramic
Radio module JNtec
Opto-electrical sensor ADNS-2080 by Avago Technologies
ProcessorCortex M4

Overview

BionicANTs work together under clear rules. They communicate with each other and coordinate both their actions and movements. Each ant makes its decisions autonomously, but in doing so is always subordinate to the common objective and thereby plays its part towards solving the task in hand.

By pushing and pulling together, the artificial ants move an object across a defined area. Thanks to this intelligent division of work, they are able to efficiently transport loads that a single ant could not move. 

Laser-sintered components are subsequently embellished with visible conductor structures in the so-called 3D MID* process. The electrical circuits are attached on the surface of the components, which thereby take on design and electrical functions at the same time. In this way, all the technical components can be fitted into or on the ant’s body and be exactly coordinated with each other. After being put into operation, an external control system is no longer required. It is possible, however, to monitor all the parameters wirelessly and to make a regulating intervention.

*3D Moulded Interconnect Devices feature spatial conductive tracks, which are visibly attached to the surface of shaped parts and act as circuit boards for electronic and mechatronic subassemblies. They make do without any cables and only require a small amount of effort to be assembled. 

References

More background information about the project, including links to brochures and the technologies used in the project.

https://www.festo.com

Elaborate brochure (PDF) with more detailed information about the BionicANTs, specifications, and information about the team behind the project.

https://www.festo.com

Describes the Piezo valve technology which has been used in the project, including a video explaining the manufacturing process of the valves.

https://www.festo.com

Breathing with a machine - Piezo valves in breathing apparatus.

Breathing with a machine - Piezo valves in breathing apparatus.