A team of researchers at Caltech have developed a scary robot that looks like it has come from hell and now it has the functionality of walking and even flying with the help of its two scrawny feet.
The name of the robot is LEONARD (LEgs ONboARD drone), or LEO for short. The body of the robot has the design of a humanoid robot that is attached to a flying drone.
The goal of the team was not to build another robot that can be commercialized. In fact, it was built to learn more about the ways robots can do the locomotion. This design was targeted to the robots that are intended to complete dangerous jobs and explore hard-to-reach places.
The researchers claim that this robot can even go to Mars or Saturn’s moon Titan to carry stuff.
“We drew inspiration from nature,” Soon-Jo Chung, corresponding author of the paper published this week in the journal Science Robotics, said in a statement.
“A complex yet intriguing behavior happens as birds move between walking and flying,” Chung added. “We wanted to understand and learn from that.”
One of the challenges while making the design for the researchers was to give it enough capacity to save energy in a manner that it could fly along with covering distance when measured from the ground.
“Based on the types of obstacles it needs to traverse, LEO can choose to use either walking or flying or blend the two as needed,” Patrick Spieler, co-lead author, said in the statement.
“In addition, LEO is capable of performing unusual locomotion maneuvers that even in humans require a mastery of balance, like walking on a slackline and skateboarding,” he added.
For further improvement, the team is working to decrease LEO’s weight and enhance the thrust of its propellers, so it is able to cover more distance on the ground.