Wow, This Robot Kangaroo Really Looks Like a Kangaroo

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 2 2014 6:51 PM

Wow, This Robot Kangaroo Really Looks Like a Kangaroo

kangaroo
Can you tell the real kangaroo from the BionicKangaroo? Okay yeah, they look different. Fine. But it's pretty close, right?

Photos by Festo.

There's a lot of awesome stuff that happens with robots. Important advances. Hilarious antics. But it can be hard to get emotionally invested because they're, you know, big hunks of metal. But this robot kangaroo is going to change your mind. Seriously, just watch this:

It's great, right? The BionicKangaroo is made by the automation technology company Festo, and the robot really nails the biological motion of the kangaroo. The jumps and landings are stable, and, like a living kangaroo, the robot recovers kinetic energy from each jump to store and use in the next hop.

kangaroo_1

Graphic by Festo.

Advertisement

But there's something else. The BionicKangaroo doesn't just minimally replicate the physics of a kangaroo's jump. The robot's movements seem innate like an animal's, instead of jerky and imposed. And it doesn't seem like Festo had any particular goal in making the BionicKangaroo other than doing research into pneumatic and electrical systems, which makes the whole thing even better. BionicKangaroo is appealing, not creepy, which is enough of an achievement.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?