Festo Canada has just launched the Bionic Flower, a robotic teaching aid that is the latest in the company’s lineup of bionic creatures. All of these robotic fauna mimic actions in nature by flying, crawling, scampering, or swimming, and they could lead to new commercial developments. Created in part by Festo Didactic, the new Bionic Flower is a construction kit for young STEM students who are inspired by the world of flora.

Reacts to touch, proximity, light

Developed in collaboration with SkySpirit, the Bionic Flower is based on models of mimosa plants and water lilies. It reacts to touch, proximity, light, and other external influences by opening and closing its petals. Students can discover these mechanisms by using the sensors and control technology integrated in the device. Its design and the transfer of principles from the plant world encompasses several STEM curriculum topics, as well as the topic of biodiversity.

Three pupils aged ten years or older can use this teaching aid. The petals cover the bionic topic known as the folding technique: by folding, these petals gain the required mechanical stiffness, and the mechanism for opening and closing the petals is controlled electrically by a stepper motor that activates each petal individually.

Wi-Fi-enabled Smartphones, tablets, or PCs can control the movement and light effects, and users can program the micro-controller with the graphic coding interface “Open Roberta” if necessary. Experienced students can program this teaching aid in C++ too; the code is an open source. Aside from assembling the Bionic Flower, pupils can customize and expand on it with three-dimensional printers, other material, hardware, and software. Festo offers free downloads of accompanying teaching material and the assembly manual.

The Bionic Flower allows students to learn different aspects of STEM in a digital, creative, and interdisciplinary way. To prepare young learners for tomorrow’s digital world, this device promotes collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity in the science field.

To get a closer look at this innovative educational tool, check out the video below:

To learn more, contact Festo.