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Japanese researchers are broadening the boundaries of science by developing a robotic tail that extends innate bodily functions – a solution to keep the elderly mobile and productive as the country grows and decreases Workforce has to fight.
While robot tails look like science fiction, they are reality in Japan. A research team at the Japanese Keio University has built an artificial, biomimic-inspired, anthropomorphic tail they call Arque. This could help insecure older people to keep their balance and achieve a new level of productivity in later years.
Arque is a gray tail, a meter-long robot tail, with which humans can change the body impulse for supporting and haptic feedback applications. It imitates animal tails, such as those of cheetahs and other animals whose tails allow them to balance while climbing and running.
Most mammals and vertebrates rely on their tails to augment their variable functions of mobility, and they even use them as limbs that allow manipulation and grip.
Arque has adjacent joints with a spring-based structure that handles shear and tangential forces and manages the length and weight of the target tail.  Four pneumatic artificial muscles drive the internal structure of the tail and form the tail tip actuating mechanism.
This prosthetic tail is introduced as an extension of the human body to be active in situations to help those who need a balance, or to change the body impulse as needed.  Japan is currently facing the same problem as Singapore – with a predominantly aging population and a shrinking workforce.
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