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Robot gecko rights itself as it falls through the air

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IEEE Spectrum reports on a UC Berkeley robot gecko that uses biology-inspired three dimensional analytical models to right itself as it falls through the air, kind of like a cat, but more like lizards, of course, which can use the heavy weight of their tales to twist themselves right in mid air (and very much unlike me when I was five years old fell from the top of the playground and got a damn bloody nose).

Anyway, from the article:

The movie shows how a gecko uses its tail to right and turn itself mid-air and fall on its feet. The researchers studied how a real gecko does the trick, modeled the maneuver on a computer, and built a robot gecko that can do the same.

We’re seeing more and more bio-inspired robots lately, and that looks like a promising trend in robotics.

“Because biologists and engineers are typically trained quite differently, there is a gap between the understanding of natural flight of biologists and the engineer’s expertise in designing vehicles that function well,” the special edition’s editor David Lentink from Wageningen University, in the Netherlands, writes in an accompanying editorial. “In the middle however is a few pioneering engineers who are able to bridge both fields.”

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