This Bipedal Robot Uses a Helicopter Head to Stumble Around

A team of Japanese robotics engineers created a bipedal robot that uses a quadcopter system attached to the head to stay upright.

Bipedal robots have come a long way within the last decade. From Boston Dynamic's Atlas to IHMC's bird-like Planar Elliptical Runner, robotics engineers have crafted impressive ways to get bipedal robots to remain upright. 

However, this new robot might be one for the books. The Aerial-Biped is a new robot creation from the University of Tokyo that uses a quadcopter to keep itself upright. 

As weird as the robot both looks and walks, those unique elements are intentional according to its developers.

"The goal is to develop a robot that has the ability to display the appearance of bipedal walking with dynamic mobility, and to provide a new visual experience," said lead author Azumi Maekawa. "The robot enables walking motion with very slender legs like those of a flamingo without impairing dynamic mobility. This approach enables casual users to choreograph biped robot walking without expertise. In addition, it is much cheaper compared to a conventional bipedal walking robot."

Most robotics seem to always have a practical purpose, whether it's carrying heavy loads or crawling through debris in dangerous situations. Despite it's funny looks, this robot also has an intended practical application, according to the team. That purpose? Entertainment applications like performance-based animatronics or even virtual reality-related programming. 

While this unique flamingo-looking robot doesn't seem practical now, it remains a clever way to use popular technology to solve a problem.

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