Home » Curriculum

Bionic Robots

Biology
Technology

Fin Ray Effect

Tail fins of bony fish bend at pressure load not - as expected - of the pressure force, but bend in the direction the compressive force. This initially surprising feature allows fish a highly efficient power transmission in water. This effect is known as "Fin Ray Effect“.

Ideas for lessons

Interested in how the Fin Ray Effect works? You can make a Fin Ray by yourself.

Click here to get the craft sheet

 

 

 

Swim Bladder

Most fish have a swim bladder, which is used for controlled buoyancy and floating in water is used. The swim bladder is balloon-shaped and consists of skin. It acts like a balloon filled with air.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Characteristics of bodies in water

  • Why does the fish swim?
  • How do fish regulate the diving depth?
  • What would it take to make the Bionic Fish dive?

Swarm Behaviour

The term refers to the behaviour of fish, birds, insects and other animals that join together. Some fish species form groups to appear larger and more threatening. This is called shoal behaviour. Enemies are confused by sudden changes in direction and shape of the shoal of fish.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Let your robot fish swim off together in a large pool filled with water.

Mammals vs fish

Marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins, have "fins" to move underwater. They are called flukes, flippers and dorsal fins. Whales and dolphins mainly use their fluke to move forward. Unlike fish, the fluke is horizontal and moves up and down. Fish, on the other hand, move their caudal fin sideways to the left and right.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Try to arrange the self-designed fish tail fin like with fish and once like with sea mammals and observe what happens.

Microcontroller

A microcontroller is a single-chip computer system. For some microcontrollers the term "System on a Chip" or SoC is also used. Microcontrollers are semiconductor chips that contain a processor and a peripheral function at the same time. Microcontrollers are usually programmed in the programming languages Assembler, C or C++. Other languages like BASIC, Pascal, Forth or Ada are also used. The most frequently used high-level language for microcontrollers is C, since programming very close to the hardware is also possible here.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Microcontroller / Programming

Actuator System

A servomotor consists of a motor, and sensors. The sensors can measure the rotational speed and acceleration of the Measure the shaft and determine the position of the shaft. The term servomotor comes from its field of application as an auxiliary drive and is generally used for various well controllable electric motors are used. There are different types of construction.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Explain, compare and evaluate actuator system:

  • Understanding the Fin Ray Effect on locomotion
  • How does the servo work?
  • Which alternative drives do you know?

Optimization

In the course of evolution, various forms of caudal fins have developed. Some fish move only slowly and hide in caves or coral reefs. Others are very fast swimmers in open water. A high caudal fin can be useful in the open sea, but it is more of a disadvantage in narrow caves or crevices. For some fish it is also more important to be agile than to be able to swim fast.

 

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Optimization

  • Getting to know the types of locomotion in the underwater world
  • Getting to know fin shapes in the underwater world
  • Which fin forms are found in fish and marine mammals?
  • Optimization of the fin shape to have the fastest fish (competition)

 

Construction

Design is about realizing something technical, e.g. the development of better quality and more economical products. CAD software tools (Computer-Aided Design) are often used as working tools.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Designing with CAD

Conversion of the fish body or other parts.

3D CAD files avaialable online: Support

 

Assembly

In industrial manufacturing, assembly is the term used to describe the totality of all processes for the assembly of bodies with a geometrically defined shape. The essential sub-operations of an assembly process are: Joining, handling, testing, adjusting or auxiliary operations (e.g. cleaning, heating or cooling for press connections, deburring, unpacking, sealing, oiling, ...) The reverse of assembly is disassembly with appropriate disassembly techniques.

 

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Assemble the Bionic Fish according to the instructions.

Bionic Fish Assembly Instructions

 

Control and Closed Loop Control

The task of control engineering is to force certain processes in a control object. The programmable logic controller (PLC) forms a modern basis for various applications of control technology. The task of control engineering is to ensure process stabilization or process control in a control object, which is largely independent of disturbance variables.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Control and Closed Loop Control

Control of the fish in the water by changing the fin stroke

Biology

Technology

Structure & Function

The trunk of an elephant is used in many ways. The intake of food and Water can only be carried out with its help. Grass is clasped with the trunk, torn out and led to the mouth. Elephant trunks are characterized by a flexible and yielding bellows structure. It consists of about 40,000 muscles and is a real wonder tool. Lengthwise and crosswise striated muscles make the trunk strong and mobile. The trunk is used for breathing, grasping, smelling, sucking and touching.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Think about which materials are suitable to realize a flexible bellows structure? Foam rubber, wood, springs, ...?

Click here to get the template "plates"

 

 

 

 

Biodiversity

Elephants are mammals and live in herds. Bull elephants can be 3.5 m tall and weigh 7,000 kg. They eat up to 200 kg of plants a day. Today there are still three species of elephants. The African elephant lives in Africa. The Asian elephant is found from India to Southeast Asia. The trunk fingers are used to grasp the plants is inserted. Here the gripping technology differs depending on the type of elephant. African elephants have a trunk with two gripping fingers, while the Asian elephant a trunk with a gripping finger has.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Try to grip different objects with the gripper element? Try: round, square, flat, soft objects and analyse.

 

 

 

Gripper Technology

The flowing movements of the fish fins are of course also interesting for the technique. A very special application are grabs where two or more fin-like parts are used like in the Bionic Elephant. It is shown that with this construction the most different objects can be gripped and enclosed well. The gripper adapts itself to the shape of fruit, eggs or workpieces.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

In the DIY Projects section you will find extensions.

Build a 3-point gripper

 

 

 

Robotics / Cobot

Common robots consist of steel or other hard materials, are often heavy and strong. To prevent injuries, industrial robots work therefore in a "cage". Working with people is often dangerous. Following the example of the elephant's trunk, robot arms can be made pliable and thus interact with humans. Cobot is a sub-concept of robotics. A collaborative robot, or cobot for short, is an industrial robot that works together with and supports humans. Humans and robots are not separated in the production process, but work directly together.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Cobots & Robotics:

  • Getting to know the dexterity of an elephant's trunk
  • Where could this type of robot be usefully employed?
  • Advantages and disadvantages compared to classical industrial robots
  • Cobots

If you combine the interaction of several Bionic Elephants, for example, an object can be passed around as in a real production environment.

 

 

 

Microcontroller

A microcontroller is a single-chip computer system. For some microcontrollers the term "System on a Chip" or SoC is also used. Microcontrollers are semiconductor chips that contain a processor and a peripheral function at the same time. Microcontrollers are usually programmed in the programming languages Assembler, C or C++. Other languages like BASIC, Pascal, Forth or Ada are also used. The most frequently used high-level language for microcontrollers is C, since programming very close to the hardware is also possible here.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Microcontroller / Programming

  • Understanding how the elephant controls his trunk
  • Getting to know the controller and its features
  • Control via web app (instructions here)
  • Programming with Open Roberta Programming with C++ (Open Roberta Lab) and (GitHub)

Actuator System

A servomotor consists of a motor, and sensors. The sensors can measure the rotational speed and acceleration of the Measure the shaft and determine the position of the shaft. The term servomotor comes from its field of application as an auxiliary drive and is generally used for various well controllable electric motors are used. There are different types of construction.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Explain, compare and evaluate actuator system:

  • How does the servo work?
  • Which alternative drives do you know?

Optimization

Elephant trunks are characterized by a flexible and yielding bellows structure. It consists of about 40,000 muscles and is a real wonder tool.

 

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Optimization

  • Getting to know the mobility of an elephant's trunk
  • Can the mobility of the trunk be improved by optimizing the trunk structure?

 

Construction

Design is about realizing something technical, e.g. the development of better quality and more economical products. CAD software tools (Computer-Aided Design) are often used as working tools.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Designing with CAD

Conversion of the elephant body or other parts.

3D CAD files available online: Support

Assembly

In industrial manufacturing, assembly is the term used to describe the totality of all processes for the assembly of bodies with a geometrically defined shape. The essential sub-operations of an assembly process are: Joining, handling, testing, adjusting or auxiliary operations (e.g. cleaning, heating or cooling for press connections, deburring, unpacking, sealing, oiling, ...) The reverse of assembly is disassembly with appropriate disassembly techniques.

 

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Assemble the Bionic Elephant according to the instructions.

Bionic Elephant Assembly Instructions

 

Control and Closed Loop Control

The task of control engineering is to force certain processes in a control object. The programmable logic controller (PLC) forms a modern basis for various applications of control technology. The task of control engineering is to ensure process stabilization or process control in a control object, which is largely independent of disturbance variables.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Control and Closed Loop Control

Control of the elephant during the gripping process.

Biology

Technology

Adaptation

Chameleons are fascinating beings with many special characteristics. They can move their eyes independently. With their protruding spherical eyeballs, they can thus perceive a large part of their surroundings. They are also well camouflaged by their body shape. The colour change of a chameleon also serves as camouflage and for communication with conspecifics. The colour spectrum and patterns are species-specific. In danger and combat situations, chameleons can change their colour particularly quickly. The colour can also be changed to regulate the body temperature.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Create your own silhouette for a colourful chameleon

Click here to get the silhouette template

 

 

 

Tongue Shot

The tongue of a chameleon uses the unique combination of force and form closure. This effect can be used when hunting can be observed. A special feature of chameleons is their hunting strategy. With the breathtaking way they shoot their tongue out, they can attack very quickly and grab their prey safely. Holding on to the prey is just as important for food intake as the slinging mechanism. It is assumed that adhesion (stickiness), form closure and suction serve to hold on to the prey.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Grip various objects with the silicone cap of the gripper element e.g. foam rubber, pencil, scissors.

 

 

 

Gripper Technology

Of the many characteristics of a chameleon, the adaptable grasping is of particular interest for technology. Grasping is of fundamental importance for automation. Workpieces have to be moved from one place to another and for this purpose they have to be packed somehow. A gripper with a soft tip is something new in factories. Until now, most machines in production have been made of hard material. But the chameleon's tongue shows different advantages, especially because of the soft material it is made of. It is so flexible that it can easily grasp objects of different shapes, which can also be disordered.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Optimization of the gripper, e.g.:

  • Understanding the gripping mechanism of a chameleon tongue
  • Pressure monitoring with warning
  • Refill air without disassembly

Try to find gripping objects that can be picked up individually or collectively by the gripper.

 

 

 

Air Pressure

Pressure is measured relative to air pressure. If more air is introduced into a room than is escaping the result is overpressure. This also occurs when the room is reduced in size while the air volume remains constant. The overpressure is therefore dependent on the volume ratio between room and air. Overpressure finds many industrial applications for example in automation technology for moving robot arms.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Optimization of the gripper, e.g.: Pressure monitoring with warning, air refill without disassembly.

 

 

 

 

 

Microcontroller

A microcontroller is a single-chip computer system. For some microcontrollers the term "System on a Chip" or SoC is also used. Microcontrollers are semiconductor chips that contain a processor and a peripheral function at the same time. Microcontrollers are usually programmed in the programming languages Assembler, C or C++. Other languages like BASIC, Pascal, Forth or Ada are also used. The most frequently used high-level language for microcontrollers is C, since programming very close to the hardware is also possible here.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Microcontroller / Programming

  • Understanding the gripping mechanism of a chameleon tongue
  • Getting to know the controller and its features
  • Control via web app (instructions here)
  • Programming with Open Roberta Programming with C++ (Open Roberta lab) or GitHub (GitHub)

Actuator System

A servomotor consists of a motor, and sensors. The sensors can measure the rotational speed and acceleration of the Measure the shaft and determine the position of the shaft. The term servomotor comes from its field of application as an auxiliary drive and is generally used for various well controllable electric motors are used. There are different types of construction.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Explain, compare and evaluate actuator system:

  • How does the servo work?
  • Which alternative drives do you know?

Characterstics

The soft tip of the chameleon gripper can adapt to objects of different shapes and can grip and hold them securely - and this always works with one and the same tool. Normal grippers must be changed depending on the object. The force is also distributed relatively evenly over the gripped object without creating pressure points. This means that soft objects, e.g. fruit, can also be gripped.

 

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Optimization

  • Getting to know gripping concepts in nature
  • Experiment how the bionic-inspired chameleon grab can be better controlled with air (pressure) changes

 

Construction

Design is about realizing something technical, e.g. the development of better quality and more economical products. CAD software tools (Computer-Aided Design) are often used as working tools.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Designing with CAD

Conversion of the chameleon body or other parts.

3D CAD files available online: Support

Assembly

In industrial manufacturing, assembly is the term used to describe the totality of all processes for the assembly of bodies with a geometrically defined shape. The essential sub-operations of an assembly process are: Joining, handling, testing, adjusting or auxiliary operations (e.g. cleaning, heating or cooling for press connections, deburring, unpacking, sealing, oiling, ...) The reverse of assembly is disassembly with appropriate disassembly techniques.

 

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Assemble the Bionic Chameleon according to the instructions.

Bionic Chameleon Assembly Instructions

Control and Closed Loop Control

The task of control engineering is to force certain processes in a control object. The programmable logic controller (PLC) forms a modern basis for various applications of control technology. The task of control engineering is to ensure process stabilization or process control in a control object, which is largely independent of disturbance variables.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Control and Closed Loop Control

Control of the chameleon during the gripping process

Biology

Technology

Mechanisms

The mechanisms of action of water lilies and mimosa are unique in the plant world.These plants have one thing in common: The opening and closing of their leaves due to external stimuli. The effects serve for reproduction and protection against natural enemies.

The single standing water lilies have a screw-like structure and open and close their leaves depending on the light intensity determined by the circadian rhythm. In mimosa, on the other hand, the leaves close one after the other in response to mechanical stimuli such as touch or vibration.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

  • Motion control in the plant world
  • Survival strategies and protection mechanisms
  • Which leaf forms are the most stable?
  • Which materials are suitable for the leaves?

 

 

 

Art

The bio-inspired design applies the principles from the plant world to technology by means of scientific and technical questions. This rounds off the teaching of curriculum topics in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths).

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Theory of colours

  • Colours in the plant world
  • Realizing light color and light mixing with RGB LEDs

Folding structure

  • Design of the sheets with different materials, folding mechanisms, shapes and colours
  • Getting to know lightweight construction principles, especially folding mechanisms

 

 

 

Actuator System

A stepper motor converts digital impulses into a rotational movement. One motor revolution is divided into X equally sized "steps". Each digital impulse causes a "step" that defines the motor position at any point of time. The more impulses are sent, the faster the motor turns.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

  • Getting to know fast plant movements
  • Understanding how a stepper motor works
  • Control of a stepper motor

 

 

 

 

Assembly

In industrial manufacturing, assembly is the term used to describe the totality of all processes for the assembly of bodies with a geometrically defined shape. The essential sub-operations of an assembly process are: Joining, handling, testing, adjusting or auxiliary operations (e.g. cleaning, heating or cooling for press connections, deburring, unpacking, sealing, oiling, ...) The reverse of assembly is disassembly with appropriate disassembly techniques.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Assembly of the flower according to instructions.

 

 

 

 

Microcontroller

A microcontroller is a single-chip computer system. For some microcontrollers the term "System on a Chip" or SoC is also used. Microcontrollers are semiconductor chips that contain a processor and a peripheral function at the same time. Microcontrollers are usually programmed in the programming languages Assembler, C or C++. Other languages like BASIC, Pascal, Forth or Ada are also used. The most frequently used high-level language for microcontrollers is C, since programming very close to the hardware is also possible here.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Decide how your microcontroller should react:

  • Process sensor signals (light, proximity sensor)
  • Applying logic functions
  • Controlling a stepper motor and light effects (colors and brightness)

3 variants for programming the microcontroller:

  • Control via web app (link to the manual)
  • Graphical programming with Open Roberta (Open Roberta Lab)
  • Embedded programming with C++ (GitHub)

 

 

 

 

Construction

Design is about realizing something technical, e.g. the development of better quality and more economical products. CAD software tools (Computer-Aided Design) are often used as working tools.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Reconstruction and extension of the flower bowl and production by 3D printing 3D CAD files available online: Support

 

 

 

 

 

Control and Closed Loop Control

The task of control engineering is to force certain processes in a control object. The programmable logic controller (PLC) forms a modern basis for various applications of control technology. The task of control engineering is to ensure process stabilization or process control in a control object, which is largely independent of disturbance variables.

 

 

Ideas for lessons

Understanding how plants process signals and transmit them for movement.

 

 

 

 

Teambuilding

Do the test and create teams with the help of nature