A Robot That Can Hop, Jump and Balance on a Skateboard
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 17 October 2021

Researchers at Caltech have built a bipedal robot that, inspired by way birds move around, combines walking with flying. Watch the video to meet Leo and see its range of movements which include walking on a slackline, hopping, and riding a skateboard.

The robot is called LEONARDO, but the team calls it LEO. Given the artistry of the design, I imagined its name would be a tribute to Da Vinci, but no - LEONARDO stands for LEgs ONboARD drOne. for Legs On Researchers from Caltech have built a new bipedal robot that leverages a new type of locomotion, making it nimble and capable of completing complex movements that some humans have difficulty with.

According to Soon-Jo Chung, Bren Professor of Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, said:

"We drew inspiration from nature. Think about the way birds are able to flap and hop to navigate telephone lines. A complex yet intriguing behavior happens as birds move between walking and flying. We wanted to understand and learn from that."

Soon-Jo Chung also told IEEE Spectrum that one potential application is in high-altitude environments, like inspecting high voltage lines or tall bridges:

“In such applications, conventional biped robots have difficulties with reaching the site, and standard multi-rotor drones have an issue with stabilization in high disturbance environments.”

LEO, of course, can do both. 




More Information

LEONARDO, the Bipedal Robot

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 October 2021 )