“This Robot’s Acrobatic Leaps Are the Coolest Thing You’ll See Today” in IEEE Spectrum

May 10th, 2013

This Robot’s Acrobatic Leaps Are the Coolest Thing You’ll See Today

By: Evan Ackerman | Posted 8 May 2013

Animals can jump. It’s one of the things that makes them so good at getting around. To be more specific, though, animals can generally jump in addition to whatever other method of movement that they employ. We’ve seen lots of robots that can run, and lots of robots that can jump, but with a few exceptions, there hasn’t been a lot of effective crossover, because building a robot that’s physically capable of doing both in a useful manner is not an easy task.

Now University of Pennsylvania researchers, presenting today at 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), showed what happened when they taught their RHex legged robot to jump. The results are pretty darn amazing.

“Toward a Vocabulary of Legged Leaping,” by Aaron M. Johnson and D. E. Koditschek from the University of Pennsylvania’s Kod*lab, was presented this week at ICRA 2013 in Germany.

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