Sunday 7 December 2008

Robot mimics grasshopper mobility

Biomimetics researcher Rhodri Armour at the University of Bath, has invented the Joilbot. The robot is a spherical cage that can roll and or jump in any direction. To jump, the cage compresses and springs open a mechanism inspired by the joints of a grasshopper's legs.

"We've made a robot that jumps in a similar way to the grasshopper, the grasshopper, uses electrical motors to slowly store the energy needed to leap in its springy skeleton. Before jumping, the robot squashes its spherical shape. When it is ready, it releases the stored energy all at once to jump to heights of up to half a meter. Future prototypes could include a stretchy skin covered in solar cells so it could power itself, and robotic control sensors to enable it to sense its environment."

Between rolling and jumping, Armour hopes the two-pound Jollbot will be able to handle rough terrain on other planets and or land survey work in the future.

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