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FESTO AG is indisputably one of Germany's leading drivers of innovation. At virtually every industrial fair it attends, this specialist in pneumatic and electrical automation technology makes waves with its spectacular solutions - most recently at the world’s largest industrial showcase, HANNOVER MESSE.

In factory operations, cutting-edge automation technology performs day-to-day tasks such as gripping, moving and positioning goods and controlling or regulating processes. Nature, meanwhile, has evolved to devise its own solutions for all of these tasks - instinctively, efficiently and with ease. FESTO thought to take a closer look at the resulting natural phenomena to see if it could learn a trick or two. Not one to do things by halves, the company therefore teamed up with renowned higher education institutes, development companies and private inventors to found the Bionic Learning Network.

As one of the accomplishments of this network, FESTO’s showcase at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 included the BionicFinWave - an underwater robot with a unique fin drive, which was mainly created using a 3D printer. The robot's unusual movement was inspired by marine animals such as polyclad flatworms, cuttlefish and aba aba fish, which all use their fins to generate a continuous wave that runs along the entire length of their bodies. FESTO's BionicFinWave showed off its skills at the trade fair by elegantly rippling its way around an acrylic glass pipe system. As it moves around, the autonomous underwater robot can communicate wirelessly with the outside world and transmit data - such as recorded temperature and pressure sensor values - to a tablet.