Infoscience

Journal article

Steerable Miniature Jumping Robot

Jumping is used in nature by many small animals to locomote in cluttered environments or in rough terrain. It offers small systems the benefit of overcoming relatively large obstacles at a low energetic cost. In order to be able to perform repetitive jumps in a given direction, it is important to be able to upright after landing, steer and jump again. In this article, we review and evaluate the uprighting and steering principles of existing jumping robots and present a novel spherical robot with a mass of 14 g and a size of 18 cm that can jump up to 62 cm at a take-off angle of 75°, recover passively after landing, orient itself, and jump again. We describe its design details and fabrication methods, characterize its jumping performance, and demonstrate the remote controlled prototype repetitively moving over an obstacle course where it has to climb stairs and go through a window. (See videos 1–4 in the electronic supplementary material.)

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