A team of computer scientists from the UC Berkeley managed to create the most agile springing robot in the world. The springing robot’s design was inspired by the bush baby or galago, considered to be one of the fastest creatures on the planet. Reportedly, the primate can jump as high as 2.25 meters, and can perform an average of five jumps in under four seconds.
Named Salto (the Spanish word for ‘jump’), the amazing springing robot can leap tall obstacles just as easily as his distant biological cousin. This outstanding feat of engineering was achieved by studying the galago’s anatomy.
According to the scientists, the bush baby is capable of performing quick jumps thanks to the animal’s energy storage and releasal mechanism. When the primate prepares to jump, it goes into a special crouching position.
The researchers said that the position allows the primate to store more energy in its tendons. The combination of tendons and muscles allows the animal to jump higher compared to other primates.
Salto, the springing robot, contains a similar mechanism. Beneath its tiny hood, the robot houses a motor drive powered by a spring. Before making the jump, the assembly positions the robot in a crouching position similar to that of the bush baby. In addition, thanks to a mechanical principle called power modulation, the little robot doesn’t have to wind up after each jump.
The springing robot weights a little over 100 grams and has a height of 26 centimeters when its legs are fully extended. However, the little cricket can beat even the most professional parkourist in a wall-flip competition.
So, we have one tiny and agile springing robot – so what are we going to do with it? It would seem that the researchers have some ambitious plans when it comes to Salto. According to the team, once perfected, the springing robot will be used to search for earthquake victims.
Since they’re small and very agile, these robots can navigate narrow spaces, otherwise inaccessible, and identify victims. Another way to use Salto is during military recon missions. Salto can be used to mark enemy positions or to scan the interior of the house.
However, at this moment, the team is still perfecting Salto’s jumping capabilities. But it will not be long until we see the springing robot on the market.
Check out the movie posted by Salto’s creators to see the bot in action.