biomechanics

Showing 20 posts tagged biomechanics

Festo HQ, the engineering team that brought us Aqua Penguins, Aqua Jellyfishdragonfly-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.

via Gizmodo.

This 8cm long chameleon may look lifelike, but it’s actually made from paper, gears, a magnet, and a bit of professional watercolor work, all by papercraft artist Johan Scherft. The video above, featured at The Automata Blog, walks through how the automaton moves. Bonus wow moment: there’s a mirror making the build possible.

After this, watch more incredible automata videos.

via @roseveleth.

The Verge reports on Anthropomorphism in Robots at the 2014 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Anthropomorphism, or personification, occurs when inanimate objects, animals, or things in nature are given human qualities.

There are more robots and more anthropomorphic examples in the archives, including eyebombing, the animated short Omelettethe Otamatone Jumbo, and one of our favorites: Cloudy.

From The New York Times, here’s a summary report from DARPA’s Robotics Challenge 2013. The competition is made of eight trials that include climbing ladders, walking across rough terrain, and clearing debris, showcasing how robots can aid in future disaster responses. 

Out of 16 competing teams, eight robot finalists earned places in the 2014 Grand Challenge where the team of the robot winner will be awarded a $2 million prize. From Extreme Tech

The Schaft team won in four out of eight tasks — terrain, ladder, debris, and hose — and accrued a total score of 27 points. Second-place IHMC Robotics, which used Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, came in second with two task wins and 20 points.

Rounding out the rest of the DRC results, Tartan Rescue (Carnegie Mellon + NREC) came in third with its CHIMP robot, picking up 18 points, and MIT came in fourth with an Atlas. NASA’s Valkyrie sadly scored zero points. A full break down of the contest and the results can be found on the DRC Trials website. Some cool videos from the event can be found on DARPA’s YouTube channel.

Watch more robot videos.

Are fire ants the oobleck of the animal world? The New York Times’ Science Take: The Incredible Physics of Ants looks into the fluid dynamics — yep, fluid dynamics — of these tiny creatures. From Red Orbit

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology explain that these ants can link their bodies together, forming waterproof rafts that behave much like an active material capable of changing state from a solid to a liquid. The ants can drip, spread and coagulate; and this transition helps them survive rainfall and crashing waves.

In a statement, the APS compares the structure’s behavior to Jell-O and toothpaste, stating that they are all “viscoelastic” materials capable of resisting flow under stress and reverting to their original shape like rubber bands. The fire ant rafts do not behave exactly like solids or liquids, but as a kind of hybrid of the two.

In the archives: more incredible ant videos, including clips from the BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth and Ants: Nature’s Secret Power, as well as the Camponotus Schmitzi, a species featured in this episode of NOVA’s Gross Science.