German automation company Festo has created an extraordinary helium-filled flying robot that propels itself through the air by repeatedly turning itself inside-out. The creation, known as the SmartInversion, moves like a jellyfish as its extremely lightweight body inverts itself with a rhythmic pulsating movement. Hit the jump to see it in action!
At its largest, the SmartInversion robot measures 4.75 metres across and weighs 2.334 kg. Its design was devised by Swiss artist Paul Schatz, who created the unique shape by basing it on a geometrical band and dissecting a cube into two star-shaped units to create an“invertible cube”.
Made from a framework of carbon fibre tubing, SmartInversion is driven by servo motors and an ARM processor powered by an 8.4V lithium polymer battery. It can fly for around 15 minutes before the battery completely runs out. It can also be remotely-controlled using an iPhone app.
So why develop such a creation? Well, Festo has devoted itself to studying innovative concepts for movement and propulsion. By looking at the natural world and how birds and fish move, they have created a range of automated creatures. With this breakthrough, they are now looking to see whether and how geometrical inversion could be put to use in other applications.