Wow, This Robot Kangaroo Really Looks Like a Kangaroo

Future Tense
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

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.