Wednesday, September 03, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Robotic Kangaroo Can 'Hop Forever' (VIDEO)

By Rebekah Marcarelli r.marcarelli@hngn.com | Apr 03, 2014 02:40 PM EDT

The robot jumps like a real kangaroo.
The robot jumps like a real kangaroo. (Photo : Reuters)

Researchers have created a robotic kangaroo that can "hop forever."

The" BionicKangaroo," created by the company Festo, uses kinetic energy to jump like a real life kangaroo, the Telegraph reported.

"With the BionicKangaroo we have precisely reproduced the most characteristic features of natural kangaroos: recuperating and storing energy, and then releasing it once more in the next bound,' Festo's Doctor Heinrich Frontzek told the Telegraph.

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The robot can reach a height of 80 centimeters with every hop; it is powered with a small battery.

"On the artificial kangaroo, Festo intelligently combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology to produce a highly dynamic system. The stable jump kinematics plus the precise control technology ensure stability when jumping and landing. The consistent lightweight construction facilitates the unique jumping [behavior]. The system is controlled by gestures," the Festo website stated.

Before the artificial kangaroo jumps an elastic tendon is pre-tensioned, the Telegraph reported. The robot tilts its center of gravity forwards; pneumatic cylinders are activated once it has reached the appropriate tilt, allowing the stress of the tendons to be released.

For maximum jumping distance the kangaroo's legs are pulled forward as it jumps, creating torque at the hip. By compensating for this torque with it's the tail the robot is able to stay horizontal in the air.

"Festo paid particular attention to the mobile energy supply on the artificial kangaroo. For this purpose, the team even developed two different concepts - one with an integrated compressor and one with a mobile high-pressure storage device," the website stated.

Once the kangaroo lands the tendon is re-tensioned, converting the kinetic energy from the previous jump into potential energy to be used in a future jump; this energy is stored inside of the robot.

Festo is a "Bionic Learning Network," which seeks to use "principles from nature to provide inspiration for technical applications," the Telegraph reported.

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