Fester AG is a global company
that specializes in automation technology.
In December, the company won two very prestigious Good Design Awards in
robotics and bionics from the Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture,
Art Design and Urban Studies. Fester's
award winners were the AquaJelly and the AirJelly, both bio-innovative designs.
The AquaJelly was a project of
Fester's Bionic Learning Network and is an experimental prototype built to
enable a better understanding of why jellyfish are so adaptive. It is described as an "artificial autonomous
jellyfish with an electric drive unit and an intelligent adaptive mechanism
that emulates swarming behaviour."
Because the jellyfish is 99
percent water, Fester has attempted to make the AquaJelly as light as possible
with its central watertight body and its eight tentacles that are used for
propulsion. Several AquaJellies can communicate with each other through
exterior sensors controlled by an external control board and there is a docking
station where the lithium-ion batteries in the AquaJellies receive charging.
What is being studied is the
behavior of several autonomous AquaJellies in relation to each other, how they
interact without interfering with each other, how they survive (get their
energy from the charging units), and how they insure the survival of the
group. Why? Observing the actions and
interactions of bio-designed jelly fish will help companies like Fester create
more efficient automation systems in the future.
Then came the AirJelly, the
other Good Design Award winner in bionics.
Fester wondered if the same
principles that applied to jellyfish in the water could apply to an air-filled
jelly fish. Using the design of the
AirJelly, but adding a balloon-like corps of helium and using a peristaltic
drive, Fester created the first indoor propulsion driven flight object. This intelligent, lighter than air
remote-controlled mechanism may hold solutions for many fields from automation
Inspiration: the jellyfish.