Festo's BionicSoftArm and Hand
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Saturday, 09 March 2019

Two new videos from Festo showcase its BionicSoftArm and its BionicSoftHand which are being designed for human-robot collaboration.

It was in 2010 that we first reported on Festo's breakthroughs in creating components of a humanoid robot with amazingly dexterous fingers and hands, based on the use of pneumatic actuators. The BinoicSoftArm video shows the progress that has been made on its design between 2011 and 2019.

Festo's modular pneumatic robot is intended to interact directly and safely with humans, allowing  human and machine to be able to simultaneously work together on the same workpiece or component in the future.

Like other robots from Festo, the BionicSoftArm is inspired by nature - in this instance an elephant's trunk. It owes its flexibility to its modular design, which can be combined from several pneumatic bellows segments and rotary drives. Depending on the requirements, the length of the BionicSoftArm can be varied with up to seven pneumatic actuators, thus providing maximum flexibility in working range and mobility. This makes it very easy to implement applications that are difficult to realize with a standard robot.


(Click to enlarge)

The BionicSoftHand hand is modelled on the human hand and can learn through artificial intelligence to grasp different objects and turn them into a desired position. 


Training is done using reinforcement learning. So instead of having to imitate a concrete action, the hand is merely given a goal. It tries to achieve this through trial and error. Based on the positive and negative feedback received, the hand gradually optimizes its actions until it finally solves the task successfully.


Since the flexible robot hand can grip strongly and sensitively, giving it potential for use in assembly as a helping third hand and also in service robotics.


More Information



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Hands That Learn To Hold

Air Muscles Power Festo's Humanoid Robot 

Festo's Dragonfly 


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 09 March 2019 )