Hopping Robot Sets Record

A hopping robot five centimeters tall has set a record by jumping 27 times its own height, breaking the previous record of just 17 times.

Clever designers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerlandused a motor designed to power the vibration unit of a pager drives the gears that wind the robot's springs. Watch the "grasshopper robot" do its stuff in the video shown below.


(Hopping grasshopper robot video)

This biomimetic robot makes use of a basic fact about grasshoppers and other similar insects; hopping is a very useful strategy for navigating rough terrain. The robot's designers hope that this research will lead to explorational robots both here on Earth (for disaster work) and on other planets.

The little robot (it only weighs seven grams) takes about 3.5 seconds to fully "wind" its springs; a 10 mAh battery can power 108 jumps.

Readers may recall another hopping robot prototype; consider these hopping microrobots.



(Hopping microrobots)

Dr. Penelope Boston and Dr. Steven Dubowsky have developed the idea of a swarm of "hopping microrobots" capable of exploring hazardous terrain, including underground caves. Prototypes should be on the way soon; they received phase II funding from NASA. Dr. Boston describes them this way:

In Phase I, we wanted to focus on robotic units that were small, very numerous (hence expendable), largely autonomous, and that had the mobility that was needed for getting into rugged terrains. Based on Dr. Dubowsky's ongoing work with artificial-muscle-activated robotic motion, we came up with the idea of many, many, tiny little spheres, about the size of tennis balls, that essentially hop, almost like Mexican jumping beans. They store up muscle energy, so to speak, and then they boink themselves off in various directions. That's how they move.

Update 11-Oct-2016: Take a look at the Hopper from Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (1954) by Isaac Asimov. End update:

Also, in their hybrid insect MEMS program, DARPA is specifically hoping that contractors will work with hopping insects (see Hybrid Insect MEMS Sought By DARPA For Bug Army). Also, take a look at this prototype jockey-ridden hopping robot video created by the same guys who brought you the BigDog robot.

Via 'Grasshopper' robot sets high-jump record; Read more about the hopping microrobots. Thanks to Moira for the tip on the hopping robot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/22/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.' - Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...' - Philip K. Dick, 1957.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...' HG Wells, 1898.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.