Bionic Fliers

You don’t have to know anything about engineering to admire this beautiful flying robotic creature, called BionicOpter. If you do know a thing or two about engineering, you’ll be gob smacked. Take in a lunchtime demonstration of a flying robotic dragonfly from the masterful German automation company, Festo. This is the pinnacle of robot evolution! Presented by the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.

Public welcome.



Media Release: Festo BionicOpter creates buzz at Beakerhead

Festo’s ultra-light flight model BionicOpter will fly at Beakerhead’s science, technology, engineering and arts spectacle.

With the BionicOpter, Festo has applied the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly to an ultra-lightweight flying object at a technical level. As technological leader and a learning company, the German based company will demonstrate how nature provides inspiration to kick-start innovation and create the automation technology of the future at this year’s Beakerhead, which is partnering with the University of Calgary and the Schulich School of Engineering.  Presentations of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network and the BionicOpter will take place throughout the week at the University of Calgary, during Beakernight and various school programs as well as at the Calgary Zoo. For a detailed schedule, please visit

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Schulich School of Engineering fuels the Beakerhead movement

The idea, the spark, the very notion of Beakerhead has a long story with many hands and minds coming together. But the fuel was to be found at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering. From fledgling idea to full blown collaboration, Beakerhead and Schulich have a love affair like no other. They continue their sponsorship of the Festo Canada events including this year’s Bionic Flyer (a.k.a. BionicOpter) at the University of Calgary and the Calgary Zoo, but their relationship and support extend into the teaching curriculum at the school as well.

When asked about the relationship, Dean Bill Rosehart says, “Beakerhead reflects a more powerful meaning of what engineering is and what it needs to be in the future.”

He explains that at Schulich design is integral to the program and introduced right from the beginning. However it is also the inclusion of team collaboration and the notion that “there’s never one solution” he thinks is key. Rosehart notes it is this diversity of community, both within the school and the Calgary community at large, that brings out the program’s strengths.

Last year Huffington Post columnist Gene Marks wrote in his blog post “6 Reasons Why You Should Be an Engineer”;

“To be an engineer you need a certain type of intelligence that you won’t find in a communications, government or economic major. You need to be creative like an artist, and detailed like an accountant. You need to be independent and self confident. You need math and science and programming skills. It’s a specialty that requires using both the left and right brains. Some people have it, that technical and creative predisposition. And some don’t. If you have it then you should major in engineering. Why? Because the world needs engineers.”

Well we couldn’t agree more. Don’t miss the Bionic Flyer at the University of Calgary on September 17 from 11:00 am – 1:00 (free, drop-in and everyone welcome) and then later at the Calgary Zoo September 18 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Zoo ticket entry applies). And if you see an engineer…show them some love!