Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jumping Robot 2

Grasshoppper "robot" sets new high-jump record
While it doesn't exactly boast all that many robot-like characteristics,
this grasshopper-inspired bot from the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology is apparently enough of one to lay claim to the robot
high-jump record, which it was able to capture handily by jumping
27 times its own height. That was done with the aid of a motor
originally designed to power the vibration unit of a pager which,
in this case, winds up two metal springs that eventually release
and spring the 5-centimeter tall bot into the air.

Jumping robot makes light work of stairs

Kim's team developed an ultra-lightweight version of an old technology:

the pneumatic ram. Powered by compressed air stored in two 2-litre
plastic bottles, the ram - an aluminium cylinder - is fired to launch
the robot to the required height.
To determine how much compressed air is needed for the jump,
an onboard processor first calculates how fast the robot is travelling,
using information from its 25-centimetre-diameter wheels. It also
works out the distance to the obstacle and its height, using
stereoscopic cameras and ultrasound sensors. The processor
uses this information to calculate the jump, then sends a signal to
a solenoid valve that squirts high-pressure air into the ram for
the right length of time.

“Jollbot” Jumping robots for space exploration

According to a team of engineers at the University of Bath, “jumping is
a good way to move over rough terrain, and is considerably easier to
design than walking.” reports that this is why they’ve
designed two jumping robots inspired by animals. They think that
their two new robots, Jollbot and Glumper, will help astronauts to during
future space missions. As one researcher said, “the cost per
kilogram of launching something into space is very large, so jumping
robots, which are likely to be light in weight to maximize
their own performance, are ideally suited from that perspective.”
Of course, such robots would also be useful to explore any
other places involving traversing rough terrains such as volcanoes.

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