Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in the United States, have developed a hybrid two-legged robot capable of walking and flying. Among other impressive abilities, he can also perform tricks on a skateboard and balance himself on a slackline rope.
- The Japanese create a two-legged robot that is oriented using a propeller head
His name is Leonado (short for LEGS ONBOARD drOne, or simply LEO), and he is the first android to use multi-link legs and propellers with propellers to improve the degree of control over his balance, making him incredibly agile and in able to perform complex movements, difficult even for a human. human.
“We are inspired by nature. Think about how birds manage to clap their wings and jump to balance themselves on phone lines. It is a complex and exciting behavior that happens when birds switch between walking and flying, ”explains engineering professor Soon-Jo Chung, lead author of the study.
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LEO measures 80 centimeters in height and can balance itself on two very thin legs consisting of three joints that give the robot a walk similar to a chicken wearing high heels. Four propellers on the shoulders – similar to those used on drones – not only correct posture, but also let it fly.
Using this hybrid system, the researchers were able to improve the robot’s movement capacity. The lightweight legs relieve the strain on the thrusters and support most of the weight synchronized with the joints. This makes the bot much more balanced compared to other two-legged models.
“Based on the types of obstacles it has to cross, LEO can choose to walk or fly or combine the two as needed. In addition, he is able to perform unusual movement maneuvers that require body control and balance, such as skating or venturing on a slackline, ”adds engineer Patrick Spieler, co-author of the study.
The Caltech team plans to improve the performance of the next version of the LEO by adding stiffer legs and more powerful propellers so the robot can carry more weight. In addition, the idea is to make it more autonomous so that it can go over uneven terrain.
LEO does tricks on a skateboard (Image: Reproduction / Caltech) 514869
Using a drone landing control algorithm based on deep neural networks, LEO would have a more realistic understanding of the environment. This would improve your ability to make your own decisions about the ideal combination to get around – walking, flying or both – by assessing what is safer and consumes less energy.
“A future Mars helicopter can be equipped with a leg landing gear, just like the LEOs, so that your body balance is maintained while falling on steep or uneven terrain, reducing the risk of failure under challenging landing conditions. This design is just a prototype of what is to come, ”predicts Soon-Jo Chung
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