If you have ever looked with admiration at our monkey relatives with the grace of sneaking through the next trees, cursing the evolution for not being able to enjoy tails, then we have something perfect for you.
Namely, Arque, or mechanical tail, which is supposed to allow us to enjoy all the advantages resulting from the extended tailbone. This has just been presented at SIGGRAPH 2019, as part of the Emerging Technologies collection, i.e. collaboration between several corrupt Japanese artists such as Junichi Nabeshima, MHD Yamen Saraiji and Kouta Minamizawa. As they describe their own innovative idea:
– In most vertebrates, the tail plays a very important role, providing various functions to enhance mobility. In this project, Arque, we propose a mechanical, nature-inspired anthropomorphic tail that allows us to modify the impetus of the body. In short, the tail allows us to automatically change the balance of the body, that is, maintain balance, as a form of support, eg protection against falling every day or a form of rehabilitation for the ill, having problems with balance or self-walking.
However, Arque can also play the role of an entertainment gadget, for example for playing video games, where it is easy to imagine its potential applications, especially when combined with virtual reality technology. On the one hand, it can provide us with support and, on the other hand, disturb us, eg by simulating wind gusts. Especially that putting the tail is not at all troublesome, because we attach it to the harness around the waist, and its weight and length are modifiable to best match the device to different types of bodies.
In the middle of the tail there are also four “muscles”, which means that it can distribute power in eight directions, providing the user with excellent stabilization. What’s more, the authors declare that they were also inspired by the tail of a sea horse, which is divided into segments and its cross-section is square. According to Michael Porter from Clemson University, such segments create a stiffer structure that is also more durable – clever, right? And what does the commercialization of the idea look like? For now, the subject is quiet, because it can not be hidden that the project is quite controversial, and for example, not every older person would like to support walking in this form. Hope in video games, so we’re waiting for more news.