There’s a reason the animals that spend their days leaping from tree to tree have developed long prehensile tails. It not only gives them an extra limb for clinging to branches, it also helps them steer and adjust their center of gravity as they sail through the air. So it makes sense that if you were developing a robot with superhuman like leaping abilities, you’d make sure it had a tail too.
Designed and built by Jianguo Zhao at Michigan State University, Tailbot is just three inches tall but thanks to a strong pair of legs and a manoeuvrable tail, it’s able to leap incredible distances and land without smashing itself to bits — at least 10 times its own height. And that’s an important feature when you’re developing a state-of-the-art robot that’s cost thousands of dollars to build. [Jianguo Zhao – Michigan State University via Engadget]