The Amazing Jumping Robot

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have created a robot that can leap tall buildings with a single bound.

Biomimicry is at the back of a lot of novel robots, including robots that can jump like a kangaroo or a flea, but this robot beats all living creatures. It’s just about a foot tall, but it can jump 98 feet — almost 100 times its own height.

Previous jumping robots have topped out at about 10 feet.

Work multiplication takes this robot beyond the limitations of living beings, and that’s a message the researchers want to share: machines don’t have to be bund by the constraints of living creatures.

It’s all in the actuator

Like a grasshopper, the jumping robot contracts to store energy and then leaps using that stored energy. Unlike the grasshopper, the robot uses a motor-driven actuator that can twist repeatedly to store a lot of energy before the jump.

The robot is actually a self-powered jumping mechanism. It runs on a battery and is made of rubber bands and carbon fibers. This keeps it very light in weight — another reason it can jump so well.

However, it can’t control the height of its jump, or even the direction of its jump. It doesn’t navigate at all. After it lands wherever it happens to land, it spends a couple of minutes resetting itself and then it can take off again.

The makers think this will be a great way to solve robot mobility problems. They can see it serving as an excellent lunar explorer.

Just one job

Like a lot of proof-of-concept robots, this one can only do one thing, and that one thing on its own is not very useful. However, it can be combined with other capacities to become more useful. The researchers are planning to work with NASA over the next five years to improve the robot in the direction of lunar exploration.

Your Indramat drive and control systems are much more useful. So much so that you probably can’t tolerate having them out of commission for very long. When you need service and support, let us take care of it for you. We’ll get you back up and running fast.