New drive concepts and forms of movement have always played an important role in the Bionic Learning Network. That's why we took a close look at the kangaroo and its unique movement and implemented it technically with the BionicKangaroo. Like its natural role model, it can regain energy during jumping, store it in its Achilles tendon and reapply it efficiently in the next jump.
The important function of the natural Achilles tendon is performed by an elastic rubber band. It is attached to the rear part of the foot and parallel to a pneumatic cylinder on the knee joint, which triggers the jump. The artificial tendon cushions the jump during landing, absorbs the kinetic energy and releases it for the next jump – with the same technique as the natural kangaroo.
Condition monitoring and precise control and regulation technology ensure stability during jumps and landings. The robot kangaroo achieves its high jumping power with the help of pneumatics. Where maximum position accuracy is required, electric motors are used – for example to control the tail and hip. The artificial kangaroo shows how pneumatic and electric drive technology can be combined efficiently and intelligently into a highly dynamic system.
The BionicKangaroo is easy to operate with gestures. By waving at it, it starts to move. A corresponding hand signal makes it rotate about its own axis. A special wristband records the movements of the user and sends the signals via Bluetooth to the controller of the artificial kangaroo.
Our engineers paid special attention to the mobile energy supply of the artificial kangaroo. The team even developed two different concepts – one with an integrated compressor and one with a mobile high-pressure accumulator. The locomotor system is made of laser-sintered components reinforced with carbon. As a result, the artificial animal weighs just under seven kilograms and can jump up to 40 centimeters high and 80 centimeters in length.
Highly complex overall system: a clever combination of drives, control and regulation technology and mobile energy supply