A large bubble-like device that can deliver objects from one place to another seems like far from possible. However, Festo's Bionic Learning Network has made that futuristic-sounding possibility a reality with the launch of its flying gripping sphere that can pick up and drop off deliveries all on its own.

On April 6, the German company unveiled a preview of its new helium-powered flyer that combines two of its former products into one amazing concept called FreeMotionHandling. The two previous projects are the eMotionSphere and FlexShapeGripper, which is an independent gripper that can pick up and drop off objects.

FreeMotionHandling is said to represent two of Festo's top passions, which are gripping and flying.

"The indoor flying object can manoeuvre autonomously in any direction, independently picking up and dropping off items where they are required," Festo says.

Precise Object Detection

FreeMotionHandling uses two cameras so it can detect objects for pick up accurately. One camera is installed in the gripper and the other on the sleeve. With this, the device is able to identify materials on its own. This ability is made possible by saving lots of images in different sizes, lighting environments and varied views for it to have a wide range of examples.

The device comes with an intelligent software that produces a general image of the material so that the system can derive significant characteristics. When the system has collated sufficient object samples, it can then have the ability to recognize learned materials autonomously.

Important Feature: Strong Grip

Aside from precise object detection, FreeMotionHandlng also has another very vital feature that maintains its optimal function: strong grip. The gripper of this device is designed to have features like a chameleon's tongue.

The sleeve, filled with helium, simply wraps itself around objects for pick up. The gripper is able to hold multiple objects at the same time, with a maximum weight of 400 grams or 14 ounces.

The system is comprised of an extremely light carbon ring with eight adjusting propellers.

Applications Of FreeMotionHandling

Festo says the device can be of benefit to employees in the future. It can help them fly objects within the workplace as needed. It particularly comes in handy when employees need to get stuff from hard-to-reach places and from towering cabinets and storage locations.

Festo is also the company behind a robotic kangaroo device that can hop and hop for long periods of time without stopping.

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