Lizards, just like cats, have a knack for landing on their feet when they fall. But unlike cats, which twist and bend their torsos to turn in the air, lizards swing their large tails one way to rotate their body the other, according to a recent study. And the longer the tail, the smaller the movement needed. The study used high-speed video, developed a mathematical model and finally used this to develop a lizard-inspired robot, called ‘RightingBot’, which replicates the feat.
It is unclear from the press release, relating to this work being presented at a meeting in Austria in June, whether this research is different from that carried out by the same authors in 2010: ‘Righting and turning in mid-air using appendage inertia: reptile tails, analytical models and bio-inspired robots’ (Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 5(4), 2010, doi:10.1088/1748-3182/5/4/045001), high-speed video from which is shown in the YouTube video below.