When we talk about drone, we have a common understanding that it is an unmanned aircraft. However, a recent development by researchers at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) completely changes our perception.
The engineers have, for reasons we do not understand, given a drone a pair of legs. And no. There is nothing sinister here. LEONARDO (or LEgs ONboARD drOne), as it is called, is actually a bipedal robot that merely uses a combination of drone-like propellers and legged joints to stand upright and move, albeit very slowly for now.
I do not pretend do know what it is potential application, however, we read that it could one day help injured humans onto drone ambulances, or perhaps even use to explore the Red Planet.
Apparently, LEONARDO is inspired by birds which flap their wings to help stabilize themselves when “walking” over difficult terrain. The propellers serve as thrusters that will prevent this bipedal robot from falling over and also, like birds, to assist to traverse over, say, rocky terrain.
In some way, LEONARDO does look a bit like a MechWarrior, but instead of jet engine, it has rotors.
Go ahead and have a look at LEONARDO in action.
Images: YouTube (caltech).