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Technology Factsheet

BionicKangaroo

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Leg-based System
Reference # : Model No :

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.

Site: *
Industry:Research
Size:Large (20-100kg/40lb-200lb, 60cm-120cm/24in-48in)
TRL:Demonstration (7-8)
TRL2: *
Tether: *
Waterproof: *
Payload: *
Reach: *
Manipulator: *

Benefits

Limitations

Comments

BionicKangaroo emulates this with an actual elastic spring, which partially "charges" the legs on landing. The entire robotic animal weighs just 7 kilograms and stands a meter high, but it can jump 0.4 meter vertically and 0.8 meters horizontally.

BionicKangaroo relies on either a small compressor or a storage tank to provide high pressure air for the pneumatic muscles that power the jumping. Lightweight batteries drive everything, and a sophisticated kinematic control system keep the robot from toppling over. Control is gesture-based, via a Thalmic Labs Myo armband.

The take-off and flight phase: Before the first jump, the elastic tendon is pneumatically pre-tensioned. The BionicKangaroo shifts its centre of gravity forwards and starts to tilt. As soon as a defined angle is reached at a corresponding angular velocity, the pneumatic cylinders are activated, the energy from the tendon is released and the kangaroo takes off. In order to jump as far as possible, the kangaroo pulls its legs forward during the flight phase. This creates torque at the hip, for which the artificial animal compensates with a movement of its tail. The top of the body thereby stays almost horizontal.

The landing phase, energy for the next jump: Upon landing, the tendon is tensioned again, thus converting the kinetic energy of the previous jump to potential energy. The energy is thereby stored in the system and can be called on for the second jump. The landing phase is the critical process for recovering the energy and is responsible for the kangaroo’s efficient jumping behaviour. During this phase the tail moves towards the ground and thus back to its starting position.

Reduced energy consumption in the following jumps: If the kangaroo continues jumping, it channels the stored energy directly into the next jump. The potential energy from the elastic tendon is used again at this point. The valves switch at the right moment and the next jump begins. In this way it takes several jumps one after the other.

If the BionicKangaroo is supposed to come to a standstill, it must absorb as much energy as possible. To do so, the pneumatic actuators are switched accordingly and the tendon is actively tensioned again.

Operational Experience:

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