Thursday, 05 Jan, 2012 Technology
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US Researchers Working on Special Robots Based on Leaping Lizards

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A team of biologists and engineers from the University of California, Berkeley, are currently developing jumping robots based on dinosaurs and lizards.

In order to give the robots more stability during jumps, researchers decided to equip them with tails. The team discovered that to perfect the position of the machine so it would stay upright it is necessary to adjust the angle of the tail.

"We showed for the first time that lizards swing their tail up or down to counteract the rotation of their body, keeping them stable," explained team leader Robert J Full.

The goal of the new robots is to rapidly spot chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.

To be able to come up with their technology, researchers studied high-speed videography and motion capture records of a red-headed African Agama lizard and namely its jumps from a platform with various degrees of traction. Researchers discovered that on the slippery surface the lizards did not slip thanks to their tails.

The team currently investigates how the tail helps lizards controlling the pitch, roll and yaw while running.

"Robots are not nearly as agile as animals, so anything that can make a robot more stable is an advancement, which is why this work is so exciting," mentioned Full.

[via SFGate]

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