Robot technology is advancing by leaps and bounds and there’s no better example of this than the robotic Kangaroo developed by Festo, a German automation company. Called the BinoicKangaroo Robot, the robo-roo is being unveiled at this year’s Hannover Messe, the world's biggest industrial fair.
This is the first time Festo has attempted creating a robot that copies the locomotion abilities of an animal. The key to mimicking a kangaroo’s leap is to recuperate and store energy prom the previous jump and release it in the next one. That requires developing a large mechanical Achilles tendon. Festo built one using an elastic spring element made of rubber. The BionicKangaroo has a small compressor that provides high pressure air to power the jump and a kinematic or motion control system to provide balance. The robot is controlled by hand and arm gestures via a gesture-based armband.
Size and weight are important for allowing the robot to achieve the distance and height of real kangaroo leaps. The BionicKangroo is a meter tall and weighs approximately seven kilograms. Weight was reduced by using laser-sintered components reinforced with carbon which give the bot the capability to jump 0.4 meters high and 0.8 meters forward. With that size and performance, the BionicKangroo is closer to a wallaby but still impressive.
The BionicKangaroo is part of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network whose goal is to inspire young people to take an interest in technology and develop other projects with the company like its Smart Robotic Seagull.
The BionicKangaroo Robot has a real kangaroo’s performance and cuteness. A movie role can’t be far behind.