Revolutionary Jumping Robot Can Reach Higher than Big Ben

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A team of researchers at the University of Manchester designed a revolutionary robot that performed the world’s highest-ever jumps by utilizing a combination of computer simulations, laboratory experiments, and mathematical principles.

The researchers state that the current highest-jumping robot can reach up to 33 meters, while the new robot can jump over 120 meters on Earth and 200 meters on the moon (which is over twice the height of Big Ben’s tower).

According to Interesting Engineering, while robots are traditionally designed to move by rolling on wheels or walking on legs, jumping is an effective way to navigate locations with uneven terrain or obstacles. Furthermore, while there are currently jumping robots on the market, they have several challenges, the main one being the ability to jump high enough to clear substantial and intricate barriers.

The team reportedly aimed to find a design that would dramatically improve the energy efficiency and performance of spring-driven jumping robots. They discovered that conventional jumping robots frequently launch themselves before completely releasing the accumulated spring energy (limiting their maximum height) and waste energy by spinning or moving sideways instead of jumping straight up. The new design is meant to eliminate these undesirable movements while maintaining the necessary rigidity and structural integrity.

The team reported that to decide on the shape of the robot they had to choose between leg-based propulsion (like a kangaroo) and a piston-like mechanism with a large spring. They then had to decide on the size of the robot – small robots are nimble, while larger ones can accommodate stronger motors for higher jumps – they wanted to find the balance between agility and power.

Dr. Ben Parslew, Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University and the co-author of the study said: “Lighter legs, in the shape of a prism, and using springs that only stretch are all properties that we have shown to improve the performance and, most importantly, the energy efficiency of the jumping robot.”

The researchers report their next step is to control the direction of the jumps and determine how to efficiently use the kinetic energy from landing to increase the number of jumps the robot can perform on a single charge.