My kung fu is stronger than yours

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2019-08-18 11:36:06

Human bodies were not always like this. In fact, our human bodies have evolved over time from our ancestors to this point. Our evolutionary ancestors were swinging from tree to tree with their own tails. Yup, that's right, at some point you were walking around like a saiyan, or Goku, with a tail. 

Now, Japanese researchers have brought back the tail, sort of. The research team from Japan's Keio University have built a robotic tail that could help the elderly stay upright and keep their balance and improve one's overall agility. As stated in the study, In this work, arque, we propose an artificial biomimicry-inspired anthropomorphic tail to allow us to alter our body momentum for assistive and haptic feedback applications.

A Tail For Balance

Dubbed Arque, the wearable robotic tail cannot only improve human balance but it can also improve agility. The idea takes its inspiration from the way animals passively use their own tails to improve mobility by shifting their center of gravity.


The sci fi-film looking tail is comprised of a series of interlocking plastic vertebrae that utilize a spring-based structure to handle shearing and tangential forces. 

Take a closer look and you find that each of Arque's individual joints is surrounded by four protective plates all linked together with plastic chords.    

Taken From Nature 

The appendage itself is taken directly from nature being a biomimicry-inspired anthropomorphic tail.  Yet, the tail itself takes its overall design from the seahorse.  The seahorses tail is very unique as it can handle high amounts of forces relative to its size.

Source: Keio University 

Easily fitted around your waist, Arque is modular, allowing you to have different segments added or taken away depending on the wearer's personal needs.  And how does one get the tail to move? 

Inside Arque, you will find four pneumatic artificial muscles that use compressed air to provide a force on eight directions depending on the actuated muscles.

Source: Keio University 

While Arque is wrapped around the waist, the user wears a tracker that measures your center of gravity. The tail is then fed this information and adjusts itself to create the perfect counterbalance. 

Researchers from the University are excited about the host of applications of the tail which include but are not limited to artificial limbs, balance devices for the elderly, or even as a tool in the next wave of virtual reality gaming.


Is this why Goku was so strong as a kid? @IntEngineering
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