Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/24/gecko_plunge_droid/

YES! It's the twists-in-midair FALLING GECKO ROBOT!

Long awaited squamato-tumblewrithe tech debuts at last

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 24th November 2010 11:11 GMT

Grumbling taxpayers concerned that much so-called academic "research" actually consists of boffins basically mucking about at public expense can calm down. Today brings news of university researchers maintaining a laser-like focus and toiling hard on projects which deliver immediate and obvious betterment to a suffering humanity.

That news, which many readers have doubtless been anticipating for some time, is that at last a robot which can turn itself over in midair using an extendable appendage - just as a plummeting gecko can using its tail - has been developed. No longer will the cunning hairy-footed glass-ceiling-striding superlizards be able to sneer at the mechanical servants of humanity for this reason*: robot lovers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief.

One need hardly add that there's concrete YouTube proof of the plunging tumblebot goodness:

The boffins behind the squamato-mimetic bot-flip project are A Jusufi, D T Kawano, T Libby and R J Full, all of California uni's Berkeley campus. They describe their groundbreakingtickling research in their paper Righting and turning in mid-air using appendage inertia: reptile tails, analytical models and bio-inspired robots.

The paper can be read here for free courtesy of the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, which is doing a special freebie edition this week on flight mechanics copied from living critters.

Those who are not convinced by the whole approach of cribbing from the dumb chums may find the biomimetics-bashing analysis of Dr Jim Usherwood more congenial. ®

Bootnote

*Their miraculous sticky hairy feet will continue to justify a certain reptilian cocksureness, however.