Industrial automation company Festo churned out another nature-inspired robot with the Bionic Flying Fox.
In a video, the robotic fox—or, just a bat, if you want to be less fancy about it—drops from the ceiling and maneuvers around a room with half-gliding, half-flapping motions that propel it forward.
According to Festo’s website, the bat’s wings are made from airtight films and a knitted elastane fabric, welded together at 45,000 points. A honeycomb structure within the fabric enables it to keep flying, even if it’s damaged. It’s able to fly semi-autonomously, communicating with a motion-tracking system of two infrared cameras that follow the bat around the space.
The flying fox joins a zoo’s worth of robotic creatures, including octopus tentacles,herring gulls, a chill little kangaroo, way less-chill insect swarms, flying penguin blimps and giant mechanical butterflies. With a 7.5-foot wingspan, I wouldn’t want this thing descending on me from the skies, but it seems friendly enough.