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IROS 2011: CMU’s Miniature Jumping & Gliding Robot

As we mentioned earlier, IROS 2011 kicks off later this month in San Francisco, and we’ll be highlighting some of the projects being presented there.  Next up is a miniature robot that jumps more than 6 feet into the air (!), kicks out its legs, and glides on its way back down.  The little robot weighs less than 100 grams, and is composed of two four-bar mechanisms (including springs) which form its legs and wings.  With more development, this type of robot could be a great alternative to small ground-based swarm robots, since it can easily glider over rough or impassable terrain.  The main problems being that it doesn’t seem likely it can right itself for another jump after the first one, and it may end up snared in the branches of a tree or the odd spider’s web as it glides around.

Granted, this falls outside of the usual robots we tend to cover here, but it was too cool to pass up (check out the video!).  It’s being developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s NanoRobotics Lab by Matthew A. Woodward and Metin Sitti, and will be presented on Monday, September 26th at 4:30pm.

Video:

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Is that a rushed repair job on the light fixture above the launch pad?  :D

[source: NanoRobotics Lab at CMU]