Engineers at Caltech have developed a bipedal walking robot that can fly, tightrope, and skateboard.
LEONARDO (LEgs ONboARD drOne, or LEO for short) works by combining two different locomotion mechanisms.
The robot can achieves complex manoeuvres that require delicate balancing, such as walking on a slackline and skateboarding (which are extremely challenging for existing bipedal robots ) but also demonstrates agile walking motions, interlaced with flying manoeuvres to overcome obstacles by using synchronized control of propellers and leg joints.
This mechanical design and synchronized control strategy means the robot offers a unique mix of locomotion capability that could allow robotic operations to take place that would be too difficult for single-modal locomotion robots
The robot is essentially a quadcopter with a set of legs.
The design comes from Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies. The robot is currently only about 30-inches tall but it is easy to see how the design be scaled up in future.