Home > Festo develops the SmartInversion inversion drive

Festo develops the SmartInversion inversion drive

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article image SmartInversion combines extremely lightweight design, electric drives and open- and closed-loop control to enable endless inversion in the air
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The SmartInversion inversion drive was developed by Festo engineers by applying the basic principle of ‘forced movement’ whereby, when one part of the system moves, the entire system moves with it.

The two classic drive systems include the linear drive that can be compared to a cue, which moves a billiard ball in a straight line in one direction, and the rotary drive, such as the motion involved in cycling.

The third kind of drive is based on inversion with its idiosyncratic sequence of movement that tests the human powers of perception and reasoning. It was identified by Swiss artist and engineer Paul Schatz, who discovered the geometrical band at the beginning of the 20th century.

SmartInversion inversion drives combine extremely lightweight design, electric drives and open- and closed-loop control to enable endless inversion in the air. Movement is divided into four phases, two of which generate propulsion. The prisms are filled with helium so that they can float freely in the air. Carbon-fibre rods form an ultra-light framework, which is enclosed by a gas-tight membrane.

The fascinating shape is set in rotation by three servo motors, which move the connecting axes forwards or backwards depending on the drive phase. SmartInversion can be controlled from a smartphone using software specially developed by Festo.

Four coordinated phases

In order to achieve inversion of the geometrical band, the three servo motors are coordinated by an on-board unit. Two of the servos run forward and one in reverse, depending on the motion phase in question. At certain times, SmartInversion moves the servo motors in the opposite direction. Motion is based on a mathematical model of the geometrical band, which is stored in the on-board unit. This guarantees inversion without a dead centre, allowing the inversion process to be initiated at any point.

While SmartInversion is in motion, the battery charge and current consumption are continuously recorded and monitored in real-time via a condition monitoring system tailored to the requirements of SmartInversion.

Ideas without limits

With its Future Concepts, Festo is constantly seeking out new approaches in the field of drive, control and gripping technology. Natural principles, artistic input and mathematical processes provide new impulses for industrial application.

With the SmartInversion Future Concept, engineers and designers are now investigating where and how inversion can be put to use in technology. Festo has broken new ground with the realisation of the inversion drive in the form of SmartInversion. By pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible, the developers are constantly discovering new potential for the future use of innovative technologies.

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