Researchers from the Keio University Graduate School of Media Design in Tokyo have created a robotic tail for humans.
Complete with vertebrae, the anthropomorphic device has been made in order to increase the capabilities of the human body.
Primarily it offers the user additional balance, reach and agility – much like the tail of a domestic cat or dog.
Or as the official Arque video states, it is to be used to ‘allow us to alter our body momentum for assistive and full body haptic feedback’.
The tail, which has been named ‘Arque’, is driven by four artificial pneumatic muscles.
The promo video also gives some ideas of how the tail could be put to practical use. Such as for warehouse workers who could do with additional balance while accessing awkward or high-up spaces, while carrying heavy objects.
Construction employees operating in dangerous, high locations could also potentially benefit from such an invention.
Adjustable settings will ensure the right tail fit for each user
The product is designed to be able to adjust its size and weight according to the user. It is length adjustable by adding or removing vertebrae. Small removable weights can be added or taken away from each vertebrae in order to control the weight. Each joint can vary from 24 grams up to 184 grams.
The anthropomorphic tail provides force in eight different directions and the overall structure draws inspiration from a seahorse tail. This design enables it to be able to support large weights.
A pneumatic actuator driven by an air compressor powers the contraption. By monitoring the user’s actual physical movements, the tail can adjust itself accordingly to offer greater stability and balance.
“Through this tail, we show the ability to passively provide forces to the user’s body based on the estimated center of gravity of his posture in order to correct his body balance,” the video stated.