Video of the week: jumping robot masters new manoeuvres

This week’s video comes from UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab where researchers have been modifying Salto the jumping robot.

If Salto sounds familiar it is because it first appeared as The Engineer’s video of the week in December 2016, prompting one reader to comment that the UC Berkeley team should work on the robot’s landing.

Salto’s creators had initially given the machine the ability to jump against – and push away – from vertical obstacles. Salto-1P’s repertoire now includes the ability to repeatedly bounce around thanks to the addition of ‘aerodynamic thrusters for out-of-plane orientation control’, plus a tail to reorient itself.

Salto (saltatorial locomotion on terrain obstacles) can now jump higher than before – 1.25m compared to 1m – with a vertical jump ability of 1.83m/s to execute a number of manoeuvres, which can be seen in this video. UC Berkeley’s Justin Yim told IEEE Spectrum that future improvements will endow Salto with better controlled interaction with obstacles and terrain, including landing control.

In use, the robot could have applications in search and rescue, using its abilities to hop through rubble and locate survivors.

This work will be presented at the upcoming 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Canada.