Watch Salto, the Most Agile Jumping Robot Ever Created

Friday, 07 July 2017 - 2:07PM
Technology
Gadgets
Robotics
Friday, 07 July 2017 - 2:07PM
Watch Salto, the Most Agile Jumping Robot Ever Created
Image credit: UC Berkeley
SALTO, which stands for saltatorial locomotion on terrain obstacles, is a tiny little robot with jumping capabilities that would make Lebron himself jealous. Its vertical jumping abilities are currently unparalleled, despite the robot's unassuming frame. To watch Salto jump from wall to floor to floor again, it looks like a video game creature come to life. But Salto wasn't created just to see how much jumping power you could pack into one robot—it was created to save lives. In a Wired video, the researchers responsible for Salto explain the magic behind this little robot:



In search and rescue scenarios, the turmoil of warzones, and many other situations where people need aid, many are unable to be reached in time. Terrain could be too difficult for humans to traverse because of natural difficulties, rubble, an ongoing conflict, etc. But robots aren't limited in the same ways that we are, and Salto's jumping abilities and unmatched agility make it the perfect candidate for going where humans might not make it. 

To create Salto, researchers studied the galago, which is an animal with the world's most incredible jump. Jumping five times in four seconds, the creature can reach an astounding 8.5 meters (27.9 feet). And, while Salto can't quite match the galago, it can get up to 1.75 meters (5.74 feet) per second, which is higher than many of the animal kingdom's more agile creatures. Salto looks almost animalistic when it jumps: it "crouches" and can jump straight up into the air or off of surfaces, not depending on any "walking" or rolling abilities.

And, while it is a strange approach to future rescue missions, Salto could be an out-of-the-box solution. Instead of creating vehicles for humans that might better traverse difficult terrain, these researchers took humans out of the equation—humans are susceptible to injury, need food and water, and more. Salto just needs clear instructions and away it goes.
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