By Meghan Rosen
December 6, 2016
“Meet the robot that can do parkour.
Salto, a lightweight bot that stands on one skinny leg like a flamingo, can leap from floor to wall, then off again — like parkour athletes bouncing between buildings, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley report December 6 in Science Robotics.
Salto’s not the highest jumping robot out there, but it’s got something others lack: speed. The new bot can spring a meter off the ground in just 0.58 seconds — about what a bullfrog can do, study coauthor Duncan Haldane said in a news conference December 5.
The robot’s mix of air and speed could one day aid search-and-rescue teams, he said. Ideally, a rescue robot would be able to move quickly and nimbly over rubble (SN: 12/13/14, p. 16). To do that, Haldane said, “it has to be able to jump.”
For now, Salto is “great eye candy,” says roboticist Jeff Duperret of the University of Pennsylvania. The study’s authors “came up with a new idea and showed it really clearly,” he says.”