Festo's BionicKangaroo Mimics The Australian Macropods With Much Aplomb

Festo, the German industrial control and automation experts, have come up with a new piece of innovation in the form of BionicKangaroo - a robotic system that mimics a real-life Kangaroo and jumps around just like the real thing. But that's not it, this artificial kangaroo just like its natural counterpart recovers the energy when jumping, stores it and efficiently uses it for the next jump. Voila. The first of its kind Bionic Kangaroo, smartly integrates the pneumatic and electrical drive technology, producing a highly dynamic system. The robotic Kangaroo achieves amazing stability when its jumping or landing. The lightweight body facilitates the jumping mechanism and if that's not too awe-inspiring, the Kangaroo has been made to be controlled by gestures. Yep.

For gesture control, the BionicKangaroo employs a Myo Armband created by Thalmic Labs, that uses electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your gadgets. The Myo Armband features rechargeable lithium battery, an ARM processor, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB port and wireless compatibility with PCs, Macs, iOS and Android. As you can see from the images below, the BionicKangaroo features a CECC Control system, a sensor system, compressed air reservoir, motors to control hips and tail as well as an elastic spring element to give it the agility.


BionicKangaroo-Festo-3 BionicKangaroo-Festo-1 BionicKangaroo-Festo-4 BionicKangaroo-Festo-5

The BionicKangaroo's hopping mechanism has been explained in great detail by the development team from Festo, who spent almost two years in recreating the jumping behavior of the natural kangaroo as closely as possible. At first, there's a pretensioning of the elastic spring element, which shifts the centre of gravity forwards. The kangaroo then switches the valves on for the take off. The control system then evaluates the sensor values and the Kangaroo pulls the legs forward while and lifts the tail, so that there's a smooth landing and deflecting that makes the robotic Kangaroo ready for the next jump.

Back in March, Festo was in news for developing the 'Bionic Handling Assistants' as a tribute to Spidey pop-culture, what with them German Engineering Firm Festo Creates Doctor Octavius' Brutal Mechanica Arms! Call Spiderman, Again.. It was beyond awesome. And now the company's Bionic Learning Network has been taken a leap forward, literally, with the BionicKangaroo. Take a look at the video put together by Festo -

The efficient use of space for such a highly complex control technology system, along with energy recovery mechanism make up for great applications in the automation sector. What do you have to say about that? Share with us in comments.

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