Festo HQ, the engineering team that brought us Aqua Penguins, Aqua Jellyfish, dragonfly-inspired BionicOpters, and a robot that flies like a bird can now add Bionic Kangaroo to their list of animal-inspired achievements in technology. From spectrum.ieee.org:
BionicKangaroo is able to realistically emulate the jumping behavior of real kangaroos, which means that it can efficiently recover energy from one jump to help it make another jump. Without this capability, kangaroos (real ones) would get very very tired very very quickly, but by using their tendons like elastic springs, the animals can bound at high speeds efficiently for substantial periods of time.
BionicKangaroo emulates this with an actual elastic spring, which partially “charges” the legs on landing.
Bonus fun: wear the corresponding armband and you can control the kangaroo using gestures. Mmmmmmm, biomechanics.
How can the physics and engineering of wind and water change a country? From the world of European travel guides, here’s a quick primer: The Netherlands: Working Windmills.
300 years ago, half of what we know as The Netherlands was under water. Slowly, the former seabed was reclaimed and the Dutch went to work drying the ground with the country’s leading natural resource - the wind. Over 1000 windmills, some still functioning, survive in the Netherlands today, reminding locals and tourists alike of the clever engine that powered the creation of this land.
Related reading: Archimedes’ screw. Related watching: how wind turbines work, wingtip vortices, Windswept, The Old Mill, and more amazing videos about The Netherlands.
There’s a cliff wall full of 70 million year old dinosaur footprints in Spain’s Pyrenees mountains, just a 1.5 hour drive north from Barcelona. In this episode of Jurassic CSI, Walk Like a Dinosaur, Dr. Phil Manning, head of Paleontology Research Group at University of Manchester, joins paleontologists from The Catalan Institute of Paleontology as they climb down the former mud plain to measure the extremely fragile footprints by hand. They also use long range LiDAR 3D scanning to capture the rock face and later calculate the animals’ dimensions, how fast they might have walked, and more.
Here’s a Catalan News Agency video for more info, some Jurassic CSI Facts, and in the archives: more dinosaur vids, including 3D scanning and Printing Dinosaurs.