Mechanical locomotion principles from jumping insects applied to microrobots

May 21, 2008
A biomimetic jumping microrobot
About the size of a locust and weighing on 7 grams, this tiny robot can jump 27 times its own size. Credit: Alain Herzog, EPFL

Researchers from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL are unveiling a novel, grasshopper-inspired jumping robot at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation May 21 in Pasadena, California.

The robot weighs a miniscule 7 grams, and can jump 1.4 meters, or more than 27 times its body size -- ten times farther for its size and weight than any existing jumping robot.

These jumpers could be fitted out with tiny sensors to explore rough, inaccessible terrain or to aid in search and rescue operations.

"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," explains 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."

Small jumping animals such as fleas, locusts, grasshoppers and frogs use elastic storage mechanisms to slowly charge and quickly release their jumping energy. In this way, they can achieve very powerful jumps and very high accelerations. The jumping robot presented here uses the exact same principle, charging two torsion springs via a small 0.6-gram pager motor and a cam.

In order to be able to optimize the jumping performance, the legs can be adjusted for jumping force, takeoff angle and force profile during the acceleration phase. The tiny battery on board allows it to make up to 320 jumps at intervals of 3 seconds.

This work will be presented by Mirko Kovac May 21 in Pasadena, California during the ICRA's "Dynamic Walking" Session."

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Explore further: Professor wants to send our digital selves to the stars

Related Stories

Professor wants to send our digital selves to the stars

August 17, 2016

Setting foot on a distant planet… we've all dreamed about it at one time or another. And it has been a staple of science fiction for almost a century. Engage the warp dive, spool up the FLT, open a wormhole, or jump into ...

Recommended for you

Apple issues update after cyber weapon captured

August 26, 2016

Apple iPhone owners on Friday were urged to install a quickly released security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by cyber arms dealers.

Auto, aerospace industries warm to 3D printing

August 25, 2016

New 3D printing technology unveiled this week sharply increases the size of objects that can be produced, offering new possibilities to remake manufacturing in the auto, aerospace and other major industries.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mabarker
1 / 5 (4) May 21, 2008
Once again, secular scientists are taking note of what they see in creation and then attempt to mimic what they see.
More power to them - the Creator thought of it first.
When I took graduate-level entomology we had to study the elastic molecule responsible for the fleas jumping - constantly - for days on end wi/o stopping. I never heard how random genetic mistakes 'created' this molecule. As a zoologist I see it as evidence for design.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.