'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance

'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance

researchers at keio university in japan have developed a robotic tail that humans can wear to improve balance. called ‘arque’, it was inspired by the way animals passively use their own tails to improve mobility by shifting their center of gravity.

'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance

images courtesy of keio university



arque consists of interlocking plastic vertebrae that use a spring-based structure to handle shearing and tangential forces. each vertebral joint is made up of one central plate, surrounded by an additional four protective plates, with the plates being linked together with elastic cords. because of the modular, additional segments can be added, or removed, making the rail heavier or lighter depending on the wearers physique


the internal structure of the tail uses four pneumatic artificial muscles that use compressed air to provide force on eight directions depending on the actuated muscles. the tail is strapped around the user’s waist, and the user dons a wearable body tracker that determines the user’s approximate center of gravity, which then prompts the tail to move and adjust itself accordingly as a corrective counterbalance.

'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance



‘for most vertebrate animals, tail plays an important role for their body, providing variant functions to expand their mobility,’ reads a statement outlining the project. ‘in this work, arque, we propose an artificial biomimicry-inspired anthropomorphic tail to allow us to alter our body momentum for assistive and haptic feedback applications.’

'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance



researchers studied the tail of the seahorse as its structure can handle a high amount of forces, relative to its size. appendages in animals are typically round, but the seahorse tail has a square cross section with each vertebra surrounded by four, interlocking L-shaped plates.

'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance



the team imagines a number of potential uses for the device, including combining it with sensors or linking it up with brain signals to create an artificial limb. it also imagines using use the tail as a gaming device to enhance user experience as wearers explore virtual worlds.


project info


research body: keio university

name: arque

type: wearable technology

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    technology news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    501,537 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample