Caltech’s Bipedal Robot Can Fly, Slackline, Skateboard

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Leonardo, or LEO to its friends, is a bipedal robot that can walk and fly. It kind of walks like the guy who just had two quick ones and is feeling fine — little pep in its step. Leonardo, which stands for LEgs ONboARD drOne, results from years of work from Caltech researchers from the university’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST). Inspired by nature, LEO is an attempt to mimic the way a bird navigates telephone lines by flapping and hopping using a combination of walking and flying. The result looks similar to a human wearing a jetpack. It’s reminiscent of a daintier version of the JetSuit from Gravity Industries. LEO not only walks like a real cool cat, but it can also walk a slackline like the bird on a wire or ride a skateboard, albeit quite slowly. The idea is for LEO’s multimodal locomotion to serve as the best of both worlds, at least initially in search and rescue efforts. While similar concepts have been developed using aerial drones and bipedal and quadruped robots, they have limitations.

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