Italian researchers have come close to building an Iron Man-like humanoid robot with jet engines

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Italian researchers have come close to building an Iron Man-like humanoid robot with jet engines
iRonCub is equipped with four jet engines that will help it fly.Italian Institute of Technology
  • Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have developed an aerial humanoid robot.
  • iRonCub is equipped with jet engines that will help make it fly.
  • The robot also has flame-protective coverings on its legs and feet.
The current big challenge for robots is to make them move around or even fly safely. Italian researchers have come close to building a robot that can fly. Meet iRonCub, a small humanoid robot that looks like a kid but it’s carrying four jet engines instead of a backpack.

iRonCub has been developed by researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), and it’s been some five years in the making for this Iron Man-like flying robot. The idea behind iRonCub was to install jet engines on its hands and feet to make the robot fly. It’s similar to the jetpack that Richard Browning developed.

There are two jet engines clipped on to the back of the robot, and two jet engines on the forearms. iRonCub is also sporting what looks like a cool pair of metallic pants but it’s actually made of heat-resistant material to protect the robot from the jet engines’ fire. But a new and updated version of iRonCub has flame-protective coverings on its legs and feet.

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How exactly would flying humanoid robots help

Aerial humanoid robots can be technologically, socially and scientifically beneficial according to Daniele Pucci, head of the Artificial and Mechanical Intelligence lab at the Italian Institute of Technology. Aerial humanoid robots like iRonCub can help in improving flying robots which are mostly quadrotors equipped with a robotic arm. These robots have limitations as they can’t move around much, and struggle to fly in windy conditions.

Pucci also believes that aerial humanoid robots can be a test-bed for flying exoskeletons for human beings. The process behind making an aerial humanoid robot fly properly also raises multiple theoretical and practical questions which can help scientifically in the development of robots.

iRonCub is almost ready for takeoff. The researchers’ next challenge is to make iRonCub fly with a flight controller and the final result could be seeing a mini version of Iron Man up in the sky.
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