Get Your Furry On With Arque! The Wearable Robotic Tail
Wearable tails for humans is not a new idea. No one really knows when this phenomena started to garner attention. Tails have been made for those who fancy themselves as furries or just the casual cosplayer who wants to dress as their favorite character. However, the researchers at Keio University in Japan have created a wearable animated tail. They promise that it will genuinely augment the capabilities of the wearer. They claim it will also enhance their appearance, balance, and agility.
The Arque Tail does the same thing for humans as the tail of monkeys does for them. The tail is based mostly on a seahorse’s tail and uses a series of artificial vertebrae and four pneumatic muscles to move. Researchers are hoping that it will allow humans to carry bigger loads as vertebrae can be added or removed depending on the needs.
According to Fast Company:
Once the tail is properly adjusted to the wearer’s height and weight, it acts like a counterbalance. Four artificial muscles run up and down the length of the tail and can contract and expand using an external pressurized air system that resembles a lawn mower or giant vacuum and can control the movement of the tail. Because the tail has to be anchored to this system, it’s not fully mobile, which means you wouldn’t be able to move very far using it. But if the researchers were to find a way to make it mobile, the tail could act as a support for laborers who have to carry heavy loads, or as an assistive device for people who have trouble balancing—though it remains to be seen if a robotic tail will ever be socially acceptable enough that someone would rather use it than a cane.Katharine Schwab
In the video, it looks like it works. That guy totally bends over at the waist – almost 30 degrees! – and doesn’t fall. That’s pretty good balance if we say so ourselves.