AirJelly by Festo, A Radio Controlled Airborne Jellyfish

German industrial automation company Festo has created AirJelly, a really cool radio controlled airborne jellyfish. Airshipworld has more info on the project.


AirJelly is a remote radio-controlled airborne jellyfish with a central electric drive unit and an intelligent adaptive mechanism.

AirJelly consists of a helium-filled ballonett with a diameter of 1.35 meters. This yields a filling volume of 1.3 cubic meters of helium. Since one cubic meter of helium provides buoyancy to lift approximately one kilogram, the total weight of AirJelly, comprising its ballonett and all ancillary components, must amount to no more than 1.3 kilograms.

AirJelly houses two lithium-ion polymer accumulator batteries rated at 8 V and 400 mA, which can be completely charged in half an hour and are AirJelly’s sole source of power. A connected central electric drive unit transmits the force to a bevel gear wheel and then to eight spur gears in sequence. These gears power eight shafts, each of which activates a crank; these in turn move the jellyfish’s eight tentacles. Each tentacle is designed as a structure with Fin Ray Effect, a construction derived from the functional anatomy of a fish’s fin. The actual structure consists of two alternating tension and pressure flanks movably connected by ribs. If a flank is subjected to pressure, the geometrical structure automatically bends in the direction of the applied force. Together, the tentacles produce a peristaltic forward motion similar to that of their biological model.