The Egyptians came to be known as the pioneers in prosthetics with the discovery of a fake toe on a mummy dating back to 1069 B.C. It is, thus, very clear that the desire to serve the differently abled had its roots sown very early. Historical glimpses of prosthetics were also seen in the Roman culture with the Capua leg from 300 B.C that was discovered before the Egyptian toe. However, not wanting to be left behind, it’s time for the Germans to take the lead and they decided to introduce effervescent Robo-roo to the world.
Engineers from Festo, an advanced German robotics company, want their country to stride ahead in the field of bionics which would eventually lay the roadmap for better equipments for the differently abled. Robo-roo is modeled after one of the most energy efficient animals of this planet, Kangaroo. It is known that the hopping motion of a kangaroo helps the animal regain the energy from its previous hop and use it effectively to propel its next hop. With its heavy body weight, the animal is also able to maintain perfect balance while travelling at a breakneck speed of 44 mph.
Replicating both these capabilities of a kangaroo is what gives Robo-roo the edge in the world of robotics and bionics. If you look at the current technological advancements in the area of prosthetics for the differently abled it is not always able to meet the requirements of speed, balance and energy at the same time. So the announcement has brought much cheer to the bionics and prosthetic engineering community since the technology has the potential to be extrapolated further to build far more energy efficient models.
The need to give greater agility and speed to the differently abled is especially important to offer them with the appropriate amount of flexibility in their daily routine. This will not only offer them the ability to grab better job opportunities, but will also give them greater independence in their lifestyle.
It may have taken the German scientists over two years to build Robo-roo, however they hope to achieve better results and greater improvement in the coming years. Although, Robo-roo is only a prototype and further research is being conducted to make the design far more robust, it remains to be seen if its applications can be quickly emulated in other areas, including production of prosthetics.
The world can definitely use more countries to come forward and take the technology further to improve the lives of the differently abled and to continue the good work, the foundation of which was laid almost 3000 years back by the mighty Egyptians.