Members press release

IPA, Germany - IFR-R&D Institute

Fraunhofer IPA and Festo - winners of the German Future Prize 2010: Bionic Handling Assistant

Video by Festo

On December 1, 2010, Dr. Peter Post and Markus Fischer from Festo, as well as Andrzej Grzesiak from Fraunhofer IPA were awarded with the German Future Prize (Deutscher Zukunftspreis) 2010 for their joint project entitled "The elephant's trunk as a model - a high-tech helper in industrial and household applications".  The  EUR 250,000 award was bestowed upon the recipients by the German President Christian Wulff at an elaborate ceremony in Berlin.

IPA / Festo Elephant Trunk - Bionic Handling AssistantFor thís so called "Bionic Handling Assistant",  the experts  were inspired by the elephant's trunk. Analysis of its structure and function, together with the use of state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, have revolutionised human-machine cooperation.

A significant advantage over heavy industrial robots is the fact that direct contact between humans and machines is now no longer hazardous. In the event of a collision the system yields immediately, without becoming unstable. Its design comprising three basic elements, the hand axis with ball joint and the adaptive FinGripper makes for smooth movement, with more degrees of freedom and an unparalleled mass/payload ratio, and enables efficient use of resources in production and operation.

The Bionic Handling Assistant opens up numerous new fields of application: from the handling industry, via medical technology and agriculture, to domestic households and institutes of learning.