The German automation company has once again secured its place at the cutting edge of bionic technology.
This time Festo came up with a life-like kangaroo robot that realistically emulates the jumping dynamics of a natural kangaroo. The robot is expected to be officially unveiled this week at Hannover Messe.
The most characteristic feature of kangaroos, when it comes to jumping, is their ability to recuperate and store energy from one jump, and then release it to produce another. Without this ability kangaroos would get tired extremely quickly while hopping.
Researchers at Festo spent almost two years figuring out how to reproduce this natural mechanism in a robotic platform. The result is an artificial kangaroo that can jump 0.4 meter vertically and 0.8 meter horizontally – being itself one meter tall and weighing just 7 kilograms. To achieve this the BionicKangaroo makes use of an elastic rubber spring that emulates the Achilles tendon, which is exceptionally developed in natural kangaroos, and is, in fact, what allows them to accumulate energy between jumps.
The BionicKangaroo is part of the company’s Bionic Learning Network, which is a cooperative initiative aimed at studying principles perfected by nature in an effort to transform them into fresh and innovative industrial applications. During the past few years, Festo has developed a whole range of absolutely amazing bionic robots such as BioniCopter, Aquajelly and SmartBird – just to name some of them. You can see the complete chronological list of Festo’s bionic projects HERE.