Visitors to the upcoming Hannover Fair in Germany will be able to have a look at the possible factory workers of the future – bionic ants.
Festo engineers have not only taken the delicate anatomy of the natural ant as a role model. For the first time, the cooperative behaviour of the creatures has also been transferred to the world of technology using complex control algorithms.
"Like their natural role models, the BionicANTs work together under clear rules", explained Dr.-Ing. Heinrich Frontzek, Head of Corporate Communication and Future Concepts at Festo.
"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 at hand."
In an abstract manner, this cooperative behaviour provides interesting approaches for the factory of tomorrow. Future production systems will be founded on intelligent components, which adapt flexibly to different production scenarios and thus take on tasks from a higher control level.