The Fraunhofer research institute, and Festo, a Germany-based control and automation company, have won a German technology award to develop a robotic arm called the Bionic Handling Assistant. Festo teamed up with Fraunhofer Institute’s Andrzej Grzesiak to execute the project.
The Bionic Handling Assistant imitates the trunk of an elephant, and is suitable for applications in agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is utilized to construct the robotic arm. The trunk is developed using EOS’ selective laser sintering system, and consists of polyamide that weighs less than aluminum or steel assemblies.
The robotic arm comprises a three-finger gripper and works with compressed air. In addition, the plastic components of the robotic arm comprise circularly organized pneumatic actuators.
Festo’s Head of Research, Peter Post stated that with the Bionic Handling Assistant, the coordination of machine and humans becomes a reality. He added that if the system collides with a human then the trunk moves away without creating any damage.