Leaping Robots Now With Lizard-Inspired Tails

inTIMidator January 9, 2012

I think I thought of this years ago. I was tying stings and tails to my R/C cars for years…

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have been studying how and why lizards manage to leap into the air and land successfully even when stumbling while launching or taking off from a slippery surface. By integrating the same tools (tails) that lizards and dinosaurs were born with the researchers were able to construct a totally awesome jumping R/C car that wont crash nose first if it jumps off that cool table ramp you built last week.

By adding a tail to their robotic car named “Tailbot,” the Berkley researchers discovered that counteracting the effect of a slip is not as simple as throwing your tail in the air. Instead, robots and lizards must actively adjust the angle of their tails just right to remain upright (aka not crash).

“We showed for the first time that lizards swing their tail up or down to counteract the rotation of their body, keeping them stable,” said team leader Robert J. Full, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. “Inspiration from lizard tails will likely lead to far more agile search-and-rescue robots, as well as ones having greater capability to more rapidly detect chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.” – NewsCenter Berkeley

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see both awesome R/C cars with tails and maybe (if we’re lucky)…tanks with tails! Just imagine if there were kick ass jumping tanks with tails! I’ll give the military 5 years, and they’ll have tail tanks.

Check out the full story at: NewsCenter Berkeley

Related stories at:
Dvice
– Video: robots now leaping with lizard-inspired tails
Geeky-Gadgets – New Robot Design Inspired By Leaping Lizards (video)
WorldOfNerd - Making R/C Cars Better Using Dinosaur Tail Technology