biomimetics: it’s the bees’ knees

MIT Leg Lab's Spring Flamingo Robot 1996-2000

MIT Leg Lab’s Spring Flamingo Robot 1996-2000

I was talking with my creative, musician neighbor from Costa Rica who also has an incredible green thumb.  We’ve hired him to take care of our yard and landscaping, and he is incredibly knowledge on all aspects of both.  Through experience, he knows how to rid of bees’ nests in the corner of our gutters, protect our cherry trees from being eaten by birds, close up mole holes, and today he enlightened me with the bent ‘knees’ of birds, something I had never paid any attention to.

However, as he spoke about them, it seemed like it would make for an interesting robot design, since a lot, if not most, robotics, is based on biomimetics.  As it turns out, it’s not the ‘knees’of a bird that are bent backwards, but its ankles.  The knee is not seen and under the feathers.  Is there any current research being done on biomimetic robotics that simulates the ‘backward ankles’ of chickens?