Washington, May 22 : Swiss researchers have developed a new robot inspired by grasshopper.
The miniscule seven grams robot unveiled by researchers from Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Pasadena, California, can jump 1.4 meters, 10 times farther for its size and weight than any existing jumping robot.
Its creators believe that it may 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. 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," said EPFL Professor Dario Floreano.
He pointed out that small jumping animals-like fleas, locusts, grasshoppers and frogs-use elastic storage mechanisms to slowly charge and quickly release their jumping energy.
According to the researcher, such mechanisms provide these jumping animals with very powerful jumps and very high accelerations.
The new robot, he added, used the exact same principle, charging two torsion springs via a tiny pager motor and a cam.
Floreano said that the jumping performance of the tiny robot could be optimised by adjusting its legs 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, he revealed.