Researchers from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL have developed a grasshopper- inspired jumping robot. This robot was showcased at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation May 21 in Pasadena, California.
The robot weighs just 7 grams and is capable of jumping 1.4 meters or more than 27 times of its body size.
“This biomimetic form of jumping is unique because it allows micro-robots to travel over many types of rough terrain where no other walking or wheeled robot could go,” explained EPFL Professor Dario Floreano.
“These tiny jumping robots could be fitted with solar cells to recharge between jumps and deployed in swarms for extended exploration of remote areas on Earth or on other planets,” added Floreano.
Small jumping animals like fleas, grasshopper, frogs etc use elastic storage mechanisms that slowly charge and quickly release their jumping energy. Through this they get very powerful jumps and very high accelerations. The grasshopper inspired robot also uses the same theory. It charges two torsion springs via a small 0.6-gram pager motor and a cam. To achieve optimized jumping performance, the legs can be adjusted for jumping force, takeoff angle and force profile during the acceleration phase.
The robot is powered by the battery that allows it to jump up to 320 at intervals of 3 seconds.
Image Credit: EPFL Professor Dario Floreano