This Tiny Robot Can Jump Like No Other

Posted: Dec 6 2016, 10:53pm CST | by , Updated: Dec 7 2016, 4:52am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

This Tiny Robot can Jump like No Other
Credit: University of California - Berkeley
 

Dubbed Salto, the robot can leap 3 feet in the air and spring off a wall

Drawing inspiration from an African primate called galago, researchers have designed a small robot with remarkable jumping ability. The robot, dubbed Salto, can leap high in the air, then spring off a wall or perform multiple vertical jumps in a succession, making it the most jumping agile robot ever seen. 

Salto or Saltatorial Locomotion of Terrain Obstacles, is just 10 inches tall and weighs only 3.5 ounces but it can reach a maximum height of 3.3 feet. Researchers claim the robot can jump higher and faster than any other robot right now. 

To build the robot, researchers studied the animal with the highest vertical jumping agility, the galago, which can jump multiple times in a row and gain a combined height of 27.9 feet.

Galago has a special ability to store energy in the tendons of the lower leg. This allows galago to jump higher which would otherwise not possible to achieve for a such small sized animal. 

Researchers have found that the animals that can jump higher have a super crouch posture. The longer they stay in a crouch, the more energy they can transfer into their tendons and more higher they can jump. Salto replicates the same mechanism. It makes a crouch position before takeoff and uses its onboard motor to transfer energy to a spring connected with it. However, the robot still cannot compete with galago. It can achieve 78% of the vertical jumping agility of a galago. The best existing robot had a vertical jumping agility of only 55 percent of the African primate. 

“By combining biologically inspired design principles with improved engineering technology, matching the agile performance of animals may not be that far off.” Ronald Fearing, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley said

Salto may not be the highest-jumping robot out there. Some other robot can jump as high as 10 feet from a standing position but they have to wind up for several minutes before they leap, whereas Salto is ready to leap again almost immediately and can do it over and over again.

Researchers believe that these kinds of agile robots can help explore dynamics of locomotion and can one day be used to assist search and rescue missions. 

“The robot itself is not going to drag someone out of a collapsed building,” said Fearing. “The idea is that the robot will be able to maneuver on top of the rubble and be able to explore.”

Researchers have demonstrated how the robot leaps from the floor to a wall and then springs off the wall to reach a farther height over a net. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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