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Meet the Jollbot: The World’s First Leaping Robot

By M Dee Dubroff     Jan 6, 2009 in Technology
It’s a bird; it’s a plane; no, it’s Jollbot, the first robot in the world with the ability to leap over obstacles and roll over smooth terrain! Read all about this amazing new creation but…get out of the way!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osGZzOdInho
Designed by English engineer, Rhodri Armour, and colleagues from the University of Bath's Center for Biomimetic & Natural Technologies, the Jollbot is like a giant slinky, gone amuck. Its spherical build allows it to roll in any direction, giving it the maneuverability of wheels without the problem of overturning or getting stuck in potholes.
According to news sources, this robot may be just the thing for space exploration, particularly useful for the surface surveys of planets or moons. This is due to the fact that its cage-like surface is flexible and weighs less than two pounds, which means it won't get damaged easily after high jumps and is therefore less expensive than other conventional exploration robots.
Electrical motors control the Jollbot’s jumping capabilities. They slowly store the energy needed to spring into a leap, mimicking the natural movement of grasshoppers. According to its creator:
“The robot gets ready to jump by squashing itself slowly, storing energy in the process, and then releases that energy all at once, springing upwards in the air to almost 20 inches.”
Jollbot still needs some improvement and scientists are currently researching ways to improve the robot’s engineering so that it can power itself in space. This may mean including a stretchy skin of solar cells on the outside of the robot, and robotic control sensors to enable it to sense its environment.
Watch the video and see this amazing automaton in action.
Jollbot, do you do windows?
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