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.
If you’ve seen how underwater time-lapse can show the secret life of a coral reef on this site, then you already know that brilliantly fluorescing corals and sponges have fascinating, unseen experiences. But you’ve never seen “slow” marine animals like this: Slow Life by University of Queensland PhD student Daniel Stoupin.
To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.
Make sure that you watch this full-screen, HD actual size. The detail is incredible.
In the archives: more coral and time lapse.
via Kottke. Thanks, @cmykadam.
Spend a quiet two minutes watching a woodlouse (aka pill bug, roly poly, cheeselog, armadillo bug, boat builder, slater, sow bug, roll up bug…) flip over from its back. Known for curling up into a protective ball, this “bug” has a lot of regional nicknames, but is it actually a bug? From a-z-animals:
The woodlouse is not an insect but a crustacean that has 14 parts to its body, which gives the woodlouse the flexibility to be able to curl into a ball to protect itself from danger. This means that only the hard outer shell of the woodlouse is exposed.
The woodlouse is found in dark, damp places in forests and jungles throughout the world. The woodlouse feeds on decaying leaf and plant matter on the forest floor, meaning that the woodlouse plays a vital role in the natural carbon dioxide cycle.
The woodlouse is generally about 1 cm long but many species in the tropics are triple that size, some are even bigger. The woodlouse has an average lifespan of around 2 years but some are known to get up to 4 years old.
Related watching: crabs!
This amphibious fish is called a mudskipper and it uses its pectoral fins to walk on land, specifically mud. It also rolls, jumps, digs, excavates, socializes, fights for territory, and breathes air while not being in the water. Watch this amazing clip from the David Attenborough-narrated BBC Life series, episode 04: Fish.
Related watching from the same episode, two weedy seadragons dance into the night, and from Sci-news, a walking bamboo shark.