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 Designand 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 to aerospace.