Scientists unveil 'BionicKangroo Robot'

Researchers hope the robo-roo will lead to new and even more complex developments in robotic kinetics.
By Brooks Hays   |   April 3, 2014 at 2:50 PM

ESSLINGEN AM NECKAR, Germany, April 3 (UPI) -- If a human tries to move around simply by jumping, he or she is likely to get very tired, very fast. The human body isn't designed to jump over and over again.

The same doesn't hold true for a kangaroo, of course -- the hopping mammal, omnipresent throughout most of Australia, gets around exclusively via leaps and bounds.

Now, scientists in Germany have replicated the jumping motion of a kangaroo in a robot.

German tech leader Festo has built a robot that mimics the way a kangaroo moves -- able to absorb and store the energy of a jump's landing, and quickly and efficiently use that energy to initiate the next hop. They call it the BionicKangaroo Robot.

One of the keys to a kangaroo's jump is its highly specialized achilles tendon.

"In the artificial kangaroo, we realised the function of the natural Achilles tendon by means of an elastic spring element made of rubber," Heinrich Frontzek, head of corporate communications at Festo, explained in a press release.

The robot features advanced technologies that propel a powerful jump while enabling balance and flexibility.

Frontzek and the research team at Festo hopes the robo-roo will lead to new and even more complex developments in robotic kinetics.


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