what was the inspiration? The grasshopper. And they are able to saktar 115 times the length of their own body. Elliot Hawkes and his colleagues have created a very special device. It is the robot that jumps 30 meters high.
On other planets
It is 30 centimeters tall and weighs 30 grams. And it is able to jump 32.9 meters high. That’s more than 100 times its length! The details have just been published in the journal ‘ Nature’.
The findings change the implications of jumping as a means of locomotion. And they open up new ways about how and where jumping can be used.
On Earth, such robots would have multiple uses. They could perform jobs that right now are only solved by flying devices. And in a place like the Moon, where the surface gravity is weaker? They could reach heights of up to 125 meters. And traverse distances of about half a kilometer in a single leap.
This could be useful for exploratory investigations of other planets. It would support the work of rovers like Ingenuity on Mars. “The robot could jump off the side of an inaccessible cliff. Even jump to the bottom of a crater, take samples and return to a wheeled rover,” Hawkes says.
Limits of biology
The robot that jumps 30 meters high copies from nature certain schemes. “The jump is found in diverse species with different sizes. But it is performed in a strikingly similar way and has clear, quantifiable metrics. It is easy to compare the final capabilities: jump height and jump distance,” the authors explain.
However, biology has its limits. The maximum jumping height of animals is restricted by the work their muscles can produce in a single stroke. A technological device is not the same. It can be much greater if it uses a rotary or ratchet motor that can store energy during repeated movements or rotations.
This new device combines both worlds. It creates a new tool, which we may someday see leaping over the Moon.