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A robot kangaroo that can hop to it

While it can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, this kangaroo is still pretty super.

Engineers at Festo — an innovator in automation technology located in Germany — have unveiled a bionic kangaroo, which not only emulates the well-known marsupial’s jump, but also its ability to store energy with each landing. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the ‘roo robot uses an elastic “Achilles tendon” and compressed air valves to mimic the jump and recycle the kinetic energy in each hop. The hop is also precise and stable, using both feet and tail, for a balanced, three-point contact.

“With the BionicKangaroo, [as named by the company] we have precisely reproduced the most characteristic features of natural kangaroos: recuperating and storing energy, and then releasing it once more in the next bound,” Festo’s Dr. Heinrich Frontzek told the Daily Mail.

Coming in at just over 39 inches tall and 15.4 pounds, the robot can leap a distance of  31 inches at a height of about 15 inches and is controlled by gestures through a special armband. The Bluetooth-enabled controls have a range of 54 feet.

The company has no plans to release the robotic kangaroo and it joins previous projects that include robotic penguins, seagulls and jellyfish. The projects in their Bionic Learning Network turn to nature for new ways to improve industrial technology, according to The Guardian.

A member of the development team of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network controls the BionicKangaroo with hand gestures. (Photo: Festo)
Pam Tobey is the graphics editor of the Morning Mix Web team at The Washington Post and a member of the Presentation Desk’s Information Design graphics team.



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