Thursday 20 May 2010

After Darwin!

Festo’s flying penguins, jellyfish and rays to perform during Royal Society’s 350th anniversary celebrationsThis year the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science, marks its 350th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Southbank Centre and the Royal Society are coming together to explore science and our human impulse to understand the world we live in.

A key element of the celebration is the ten-day, See Further Festival of Science + Arts at London's Southbank Centre, which runs from June 25 to July 4 of this year. Festo’s air penguins will be flying above the exhibition, and will also be joined by jellyfish and rays for performances in the amazing auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall.

The air penguins, jellyfish and rays are all creations of the company's Bionic Learning Network, which is an alliance of educational establishments and specialist companies tasked with exploring bionic solutions for automation applications of the future. These bionic concepts have been developed to learn from nature; exploring biological principles in the form of beautiful and mesmerising creatures. Using helium-filled balloons, fibre control rods and rigid geometrical structures, the creatures demonstrate some of the latest concepts – they are not saleable products, but are proof of research ideas and demonstrations of design concepts, intended to stimulate dialogue with customers, suppliers and partners. (see also "Elephant in the room" - what Festo did at Hannover Fair.)

If you are keen to see these bionic creations in action, one of the best opportunities will be at the free-of-charge display on Sunday July 4, when there will also be a Q & A session and the chance to get up close in the Royal Festival Hall.

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