Researchers at Japan's University of Tokyo have developed a robotic manipulator based on the muscles and tendons in an ostrich's neck.
RobOstrich features 17 three-dimensionally printed vertebrae connected with bearings, bundles of piano wire that serve as the intervertebral muscles, and rubber bands that serve as ligaments at the base of the neck.
The manipulator's muscles are flexed when the wires are reeled in using an electric motor.
In addition to achieving various reaching tasks, RobOstrich was able to move in a rolling pattern, with the head remaining level with the ground, just by adding tension to the underside of the neck.
Said University of Tokyo's Kazashi Nakano, "The flexible structure is difficult to control, but the advantage is that dexterous reaching movements can be achieved by introducing muscle arrangements and joint ranges of motion based on the ostrich's anatomy."
From IEEE Spectrum
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