Robotic News: This One-Legged Robot Is Better At Parkour Than A Person Will Ever Be

First Posted: Dec 10, 2016 02:55 AM EST

Robotic researchers have developed a robot that is literally jumping into new heights. This one-legged robot has no problem jumping on any surface and is even better at jumping than most parkour experts.

SALTO, which stands for Saltatorial Locomotion on Terrain Obstacles, is a one-legged robot developed by a team of researchers at UC Berkeley, The Verge reported. SALTO weighs only 100 grams and is 26 centimeters tall when fully extended.

The one-legged robot SALTO can leap off walls, jump in the air and do multiple vertical jumps in a row. The robot is the smallest and holds the record for the highest vertical jumping ability for any jumping robot. SALTO has vertical jump height of 3.3 feet in a single leap. Its succeeding leap can go as high as 3.97 feet. It has a vertical jumping ability of 1.75 meters per second.

The creation of SALTO was inspired by the Galago or bush baby (Galago senegalensis). The Galago is a native primate of Africa and has a vertical jumping ability that could reach heights as high as 8.5 meters.

The bush baby has this stretchy tendon it uses for its jumps. As the bush baby jumps in the air, it maneuvers itself into a special crouch that stores energy on its stretchy tendons. As soon as it jumps, it maneuvers itself into the special crouch, enabling the baby bush to jump again as soon as it lands.

The Galago has the ability to jump five times in four seconds. It has a vertical jump ability of 2.24 meters per second. SALTO was designed with a motor that mimics the stretchy tendons of the Galago. Just like the Galago, when SALTO jumps, its motors automatically winds up and prepares for another jump.

SALTO was first introduced through the new journal, Science Robotics. Its researchers, led by Duncan Haldane, a robotics doctorate candidate at UC Berkeley, hope one day that jumping robots like SALTO will be a valuable part in search and rescue missions.

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