A novel, fully untethered soft robot capable of repeated jumping is able to cover half a meter in a single hop-and-roll motion. The innovative design of this combustion-powered robot, based on a roly-poly toy, and how it returns to an upright position after each jump are described in a fascinating study published in Soft Robotics.
In the article "An Untethered, Jumping Roly-Poly Soft Robot Driven by Combustion", Michael Loepfe, Christoph Schumacher, Urs Lustenberger, and Wendelin Stark, Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering (Zurich, Switzerland), describe a soft robot powered by a mixture of nitrous oxide/propane/butane gas that can function even over rough terrain. The authors provide a detailed description of the activity of the robot and suggest future advances that could improve the jumping ability and performance of the robot.
"Although this robot is a hybrid of soft and hard components, I think it demonstrates how incorporating new materials can open up all sorts of robot capabilities," says Editor-in-Chief Barry A. Trimmer, PhD, who directs the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University (Medford, MA).
Explore further: Researchers develop untethered, autonomous soft robot
The article is available on the Soft Robotics website.