Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Features Festo Bionics in New Robotics Exhibit

Robot Revolution, supported by, premieres May 21 in Chicago and will then tour the nation.

Hauppauge, NY May 21, 2015

A major new exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago includes the Festo LearningGripper, the elephant trunk inspired Bionic Handling Assistant, DHEB bellows gripper, and DHTG pneumatic rotary indexing table. Robot Revolution, supported by, a state-of-the-art robotics exhibition, opened in Chicago on May 21 and will run through January 3, 2016. It will then begin a national tour.

Robot Revolution allows museum guests to step into a visionary world where robots, created by human ingenuity, are not just a curiosity, but a vital asset. With a cutting-edge collection of more than 40 robots secured from some of the most innovative global robotics companies and universities, the exhibit offers extraordinary opportunities to interact with robots that have rarely been shown to the public before

Festo LearningGripper

The LearningGripper from Festo behaves just like a baby. But that's a good thing. Newborn children gradually and by trial and error learn how to hold, move, and turn an object, such as a parent's finger or a toy, with their hands so they can look at it from all sides and form a three-dimensional impression of it. The gripper learns to perform motion sequences in much the same way.

With a design inspired by the human hand, the LearningGripper has four fingers. With help from machine learning software, this gripper can master a complex action like picking up and orienting an article. The basic positions of the fingers and the feedback function from the environment need to be defined in advance; the gripper learns all other motion sequences by trial and error.

The LearningGripper demonstrates how robotic systems in the future will be able to solve intricate tasks autonomously without complex programming. Self-learning systems such as the LearningGripper could be installed on a production line and then optimize their behavior independently.

Festo Bionic Handling Assistant

Flexible movement and precise gripping: at first glance, the Bionic Handling Assistant appears to be a readily yielding gripping arm with a structure and overall operation modeled on the elephant's trunk. Over and above its pure utility value, however, the system serves as a development platform that combines a wide diversity of technologies and components.

Its eleven degrees of freedom allow a wide variety of task-specific travel paths, which unlike conventional handling systems are not purely linear. The use of polyamide makes the bellows structure of the system inherently flexible. The flexible structure renders direct human-machine contact hazard-free. In the event of a collision with a human, the system immediately yields.

DHEB bellows gripper, and DHTG pneumatic rotary index table

The bellows gripper and pneumatic rotary indexing table are robotic enabling technologies. The bellows gripper allows a robotic device to handle fragile objects by gripping the interior surface with a gently expanding polymer-based bellows. To understand the operating principle of the bellows gripper, visualize a small balloon expanding inside a drinking glass to gently press against the inside surface and hold the glass firmly. Typical bellows gripper applications include general handling, sorting, and packaging of fragile work pieces such as glasses, bottles, cups, beakers, and ceramic containers.

The DHTG rotary indexing table provides precise rotary movement with up to 24 indexing stations, and robust guiding capable of handling large loads and external forces. A separate task is typically performed at each index position, such as loading/unloading, assembling a component, testing or packaging. The index table can also be used for applications with rotating movement of the work piece or the tool. It can be effectively used on the end of a robot arm.

For the latest in bionic innovations from Festo, including the BionicANTS, eMotionButterflies, and FlexShapeGripper, modeled on a chameleon's tongue, visit The Bionic Learning Network. And visit or call 800-993-3786 to learn more about the company's industry leading factory automation systems and components.

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