BionicOpter Advanced RC Dragonfly

Posted: August 08, 2021

Festo says its BionicOpter was inspired by dragonfly flight, and can perform great feats of flight and function. I'm not going to argue with that, but I would like to point out 2 things: 1) This supposed highly advanced RC toy first debuted in 2013 or so, and I still can't buy one; and 2) the BionicOpter may have been inspired by dragonfly flight, but when it comes to size, I see more of a Giant Stick Bug inspiration. They're huge!

And I know I'm not the only one who thinks those things. For example, my friend Cornelius is jonesing for an as-of-yet unattainable BionicOpter too. And in 2019, Guinness awarded Festo and the BionicOpter a place in its Book of World Records for Biggest Flying Robotic Insect.

What makes the BionicOpter so special isn't its look or its size per se, but the hardware and software Festo have developed to make the RC robot mimic its namesake, and be able to take flight flawlessly despite its gargantuan-ness. The BionicOpter is designed to fly in all directions, hover in mid-air, and glide without beating its wings - functions pilots control with their smartphones. More impressive, the big ol' RC dragonfly can beat each of its wings independently, so it can slow down, turn on a dime, accelerate like a supercar, and fly backwards just like its model insect.

With dimensions of 17.3" long and a 24.8" wingspan, the BionicOpter weighs in at a surprisingly airy 6.2 ounces. The robotic RC dragonfly has wings made of a carbon fiber frame covered with a thin foil. They're supported by inner workings of intelligent kinematics that collect data and make constant corrections during flight for perpetual stability and smooth sailing.

In addition to the BionicOpter RC dragonfly, Festo is responsible for the equally equal parts interesting and odd BionicFlyingFox.

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