Meet LEO: Tiny 2.5ft-tall drone-robot hybrid can use its two legs to navigate a slackline and skateboard, or switch on its thrusters to fly through the air
- LEONARDO (Legs Onboard Drone) is a 2.5ft-tall robot that has bipedal legs and thrusters
- It is able to walk on two legs with enough dexterity to slackline and skateboard, but can also fly through the air
- The team says the robot could one day be used to perform tasks currently very difficult for drones, robots or humans – including operating in hazardous and hard to reach environments
The idea of a robot that can navigate a slackline, skateboard and fly might sound like a concept of science fiction.
But such a bot is very much real, in the form of LEONARDO, or Legs Onboard Drone – a bipedal robot that has drone like thrusters for stability.
Known as LEO for short, it was built from parts of robots and drones found around the lab by engineers from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
As well as improving stability when walking a tightrope, the propeller-based thrusters also allow the 2.5 foot tall bot to take to the air and fly.
The team says that LEO could someday apply its conquest of land and air to robotic missions currently difficult for ground- or aerial-based robots and drones.
As well as slacklining and skateboarding, the team says the robot could one day be used to perform tasks currently very difficult for drones, robots or humans – including operating in hazardous and hard to reach environments.
The team hasn’t said when LEO would be available for commercial use, or how much it would cost, as it is still at the research and development stage, but hope to work with a manufacturing partner in the future.