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in “ Tech news in brief ”,
October 06, 2021.

It’s a robot… it’s a rocket… it’s Leonardo

Caltech’s Leonardo.

Leonardo. © California Institute of Technology.

Leonardo is a weird, humanoid-ish robot developed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). It combines a pair of lightweight legs with torso-mounted thrusters powerful enough to balance it dynamically and lift it off the ground. It can skateboard gracefully, a remarkable feat in the field of robotics. It weighs 2.5 kg, measures 75 cm and consumes 544 watts, including 445 watts for the propellers and 99 watts for the electronics and legs. What’s interesting about Leonardo is the complex way in which the two methods of locomotion work together to achieve a task. The robot uses a synchronized control of propeller thrusters and leg mechanics to smoothly transition between flight and walking modes. In its current iteration, Leonardo’s main limitation is the range of its on-board battery (a maximum of 100 flight-seconds and 210 walking-seconds). The research team continues to work on improving the robot, adding artificial intelligence and autonomous movement functions as well as the ability to handle objects.

YouTube, “LEONARDO: a bipedal walking robot that can fly, slackline, and skateboard.”

IEEE Spectrum, Evan Ackerman, “This flying biped can skateboard and slackline.”



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