The robot kangaroo that stores the energy from its jumps


The video below shows the newly developed Bionic Kangaroo in action.

Designed by the German company Festo, this artificial animal is inspired by nature and can store the energy from its landing to use for the next bound, demonstrating an efficient way of generating movement.

It took almost two years for the researchers to construct their robotic roo. The design emulates the jumping behaviour of real kangaroos, which save the energy produced whilst jumping to release during their next leap.  

The robot kangaroo makes use of a rubber spring that stores energy during landing, mimicking the natural animal’s highly developed Achilles tendon. In the Bionic Kangaroo, the jumps are fuelled by a combination of pneumatic and electrical energy, making the robot’s ‘muscles’ contract.

A 'Bionic Kangaroo' which can hop nearly a metre in a single bound developed by Festo (EPA)

When a certain angle of the leg is reached, the stored energy is released, resulting in a jump. In this way, the artificial kangaroo can reach a height of up to 40 centimetres (16 inches) and a distance of 80 centimetres (31 inches) per jump.

The robot itself is one meter tall (3.3 feet) and weighs just seven kilograms (just over a stone), making it considerably lighter than the animals it was modelled on. 

As demonstrated in the video, the robot is controlled by gestures through the use of a wearable remote control.

The project does not have a direct commercial purpose, but the development team at Festo hope that their kangaroo demonstrates the possibility of more energy efficient movement technologies.