This bipedal robot uses propeller arms to slackline and skateboard

This bipedal robot uses propeller arms to slackline and skateboard


LEONARDO can fly and walk thanks to bipedal legs and propeller arms. | Image: Caltech Aerospace Robotics and Control Lab / Science Robotics

When it comes to judging how cool robots are, I deploy a simple but reliable heuristic: can I imagine this machine appearing in the Metal Gear Solid franchise? With LEONARDO, a bipedal robot with propellers for arms, I can not only imagine it, I’m pretty sure it is in MGSV. From the bubble head to the uncannily precise movements, it’s just a very cool robot, which I can also imagine being used to infiltrate mercenary basecamps.

LEONARDO is a pleasingly choppy acronym for “LEgs ONboARD drOne” — the product of those linguistic geniuses in Caltech’s Aerospace Robotics and Control Lab. You may have seen an earlier iteration of the bot back in 2019 (when, amazingly, LEONARDO stood for “LEg ON…

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