A parallel Worlds

Sunday March 22 2009 / Science & Technology - Art & Design

Festo is a German-based family company that has become a worldwide leading supplier of pneumatic and electrical automation technology.


And they have quietly gone about their business generally unknown to to the wider world . . . and that all changed when they developed the gracefully ethereal Airjelly.

The question Festo asked themselves was, 'Can the jellyfish’s motion through water serve as a propulsion principle for an airborne object? Is it possible to glide through the air as a jellyfish swims through water?'

Propulsion of a ballonett by means of peristaltic motion is as yet unknown in the history of aviation. AirJelly is thus the first indoor flight object with peristaltic drive. Observation of models from nature gave rise to this new propulsion concept for the airborne

AirJelly is a remote radio-controlled airborne jellyfish with a central  electric drive unit and an intelligent adaptive mechanism. It consists of a helium-filled ballonett with a diameter of 1.35 meters, yielding a filling volume of 1.3 cubic meters of helium.

  One cubic meter of helium provides buoyancy to lift approximately one kilogram so the total weight of AirJelly could be no more than a feather light 1.3 kilograms.

Controlling AirJelly’s motion in three-dimensional space is effected by weight displacement. For this purpose, a pendulum is set in motion by two actuators in the X and Y directions.

Technical data
Diameter: 1.35 m
Height: 2.20 m
Total weight: 1.3 kg
Propulsion: coreless motor, 3 V
Reduction ratio: 262:1
Power supply: lithium-ion polymer accumulator
batteries; 8 V and 400 mA

And Festo do more than graceful giant jellyfish, their robotic arms also do some fairly wild DJing!

And in a not to distant Humanoid future ....

For more information, please check out www.festo.com

Suggested by
Guillaume Schmitz