Festo unveils jumping kangaroo robot

Written by: Laura Hopperton | Published:

A team from Festo's Bionic Learning Network has spent the best part of two years studying the jumping behaviour of kangaroos, in order to create a robotic version that can effectively recover energy from one jump to help it make another.

By way of an elastic spring that partially 'charges' the legs on landing, the BionicKangaroo can jump to a height of 40cm and up to a distance of 80cm.

Festo believes it could help improve industrial automation systems, such as those used for car manufacture.

The robot is made from laser-sintered components reinforced with carbon. It weighs just 7kg and stands 1m tall.

Before the initial jump, the elastic tendon is pneumatically pre-tensioned and the BionicKangaroo shifts its centre of gravity forwards.

When a certain angle is reached, the pneumatic cylinders are activated and the energy from the tendon is released.

This causes the robot to take off and, as it does, it pulls its legs forward creating torque at the hip.

During landing, the tendon is tensed again to convert the kinetic energy of the previous jump to potential energy for the next.

A small compressor or a high-pressure storage device can be placed inside the body to provide the high pressure air necessary for jumping.

Lithium polymer batteries power the device and a kinematic control system keeps the robot from toppling over. Control is gesture-based.

The BionicKangaroo will be officially unveiled next week at Hannover Messe. Take a look at the video below to see it in action.

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