Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper And Rolls Like A Ball Created For Space Exploration

Date:
December 4, 2008
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration. The 'Jollbot' is shaped like a spherical cage which can roll in any direction, giving it the maneuverability of wheels without the problem of overturning or getting stuck in potholes.

Rhodri Armour designed Jollbot as part of his PhD thesis.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bath

The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration.

The ‘Jollbot’ has been created by Rhodri Armour, a PhD student from the University of Bath. It’s hoped his creation, which can jump over obstacles and roll over smoother terrain, could be used for space exploration or land survey work in the future.

One of the major challenges that face robots designed for space exploration is being able to move over rough terrain. Robots with legs are generally very complex, expensive to build and control, and encounter problems if they fall over. Wheels are a simpler solution to this, but are limited by the size of obstacles they can overcome.

To solve the problem, Rhodri and colleagues in the University’s Centre for Biomimetic & Natural Technologies have been looking to nature for inspiration - designing a robot that jumps obstacles in its path like an insect.

The ‘Jollbot’ is shaped like a spherical cage which can roll in any direction, giving it the manoeuvrability of wheels without the problem of overturning or getting stuck in potholes.

The robot is also flexible and small, weighing less than a kilogramme, meaning it’s not damaged when landing after jumping and is therefore less expensive than conventional exploration robots.

Mr Armour explained:"Others in the past have made robots that jump and robots that roll; but we’ve made the first robot that can do both.

“In nature there are two main types of jumping: hopping, like a kangaroo, which uses its fine control and direct muscle action to propel it along; and ‘pause and leap’, such as in a grasshopper, which stores muscle energy in spring-like elements and rapidly releases it to make the jump.

“We’ve made a robot that jumps in a similar way to the grasshopper, but uses electrical motors to slowly store the energy needed to leap in its springy skeleton.

“Before jumping, the robot squashes its spherical shape. When it is ready, it releases the stored energy all at once to jump to heights of up to half a metre.”

Mr Armour, who has just submitted his PhD thesis, took measurements using a high speed camera to analyse how the robot jumped and to predict how it might behave in a low-gravity environment, such as in space.

He added: “Future prototypes could include a stretchy skin covered in solar cells on the outside of the robot, so it could power itself, and robotic control sensors to enable it to sense its environment.”

The components of the robot were made by rapid prototyping technology, similar to that used by the RepRap machine pioneered by the University, which builds parts by “printing” layers of plastic on top of each other to produce a 3D object.

Video of robot motion.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper And Rolls Like A Ball Created For Space Exploration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081204074810.htm>.
University of Bath. (2008, December 4). Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper And Rolls Like A Ball Created For Space Exploration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081204074810.htm
University of Bath. "Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper And Rolls Like A Ball Created For Space Exploration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081204074810.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Will Need To Squish These Bugs In iOS 8

Apple Will Need To Squish These Bugs In iOS 8

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) As users rush to download the latest version of Apple's iOS software, they're running into bugs plaguing battery life, WiFi connectivity, and more. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins