By Lenny Pierce
The geniuses over at Festo Pneumatic and Electric Automation Worldwide in Germany aim to recreate the mechanical effect of natural forms like wings, legs, and hands for use in the robots of tomorrow. This is the organization that gave us robotic elephant trunks, jellyfish, and the bionic bird of Ted Talk fame, the SmartBird, a robotic flying seagull. We are now happy to announce that Festo has FINALLY broken into the world of mechanical marsupials with its new BionicKangaroo.
The most impressive mimicry of kangaroo physiology is not those cute little ears, it’s the fact that BionicKangaroo can use elasticity to actually recover energy from one jump to the next. The elastic nature of a real kangaroo’s Achilles tendon allows the structure to basically recharge when the animal lands, and then unload that energy to power the next jump. The legs of BionicKangaroo use an elastic spring to achieve the same effect.
At rest, the BionicKangaroo uses its tail to maintain a stable 3-point stance. In this time before the first movement, its Achilles is drawn tight using pressurized gas. When it’s time to head off on …read more