To the best of our knowledge, this is the first miniature robot that having all the three capabilities: running, jumping, and aerial maneuvering.
In nature, small animals or insects use multiple locomotion methods to efficiently travel in difficult environments. Inspired by the multi-modal locomotion ability found in animals, we aim to investigate the multi-modal locomotion ability for small robots. Specifically, we want to design a robot that can run on flat ground, jump to overcome large obstacles, and control its mid-air orientation once leaping into the air.
We have built a miniature robot which can perform the above functions. It has a lightweight 26.5 gram and a small maximum size 7.5 cm, yet it can achieve the three functions: running, jumping, and aerial maneuvering. Furthermore, it can jump up to 80 centimeters—more than ten times its body size. Finally, this robot is equipped with on-board energy, sensing, control, and wireless communication capabilities, which enables tetherless or autonomous operation.
We added a tail to our previous jumping robot. By actively swinging the tail in mid-air, we can control the robot’s body angle to ensure a safe landing posture—landing on the ground with its side. This tail can also make the robot stand up for the next jump or lie down for running.
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