Drone Walks, Flies, and Dances!

This walking, dancing, flying robot hits the drone trifecta! (And the video narrator sounds suspiciously robotic, so perhaps it talks as well!)

Designed more for entertainment than anything utilitarian, the amusing prototype robot from the University of Tokyo researchers looks like it’s walking or dancing using its slim dangly legs. Bipedal robots often suffer from slow and heavy motions that cause them to fall. But this aerial biped robot uses a physics simulator that senses the velocity of the quadrotor and automatically makes the legs move, according to an IEEE Spectrum interview Monday with Azumi Maekawa, lead researcher of a paper on the robot presented at the Siggraph conference in Vancouver.

Because the velocity of the robot’s feet is zero, the robot can generate a walking gait.

The goal of the research is to “develop a robot that has the ability to display the appearance of bipedal walking with dynamic mobility, and to provide a new visual experience,” Maekawa told IEEE. “The robot enables walking motion with very slender legs like those of a flamingo without impairing dynamic mobility. This approach enables casual users to choreograph biped robot walking without expertise.”

The success of the research into creating a new kind of quadcopter-powered aerial-biped robot means that entertainment applications like performance or animatronics are not far away.

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