UC Berkeley’s parkour robot draws inspiration from agile bush babies
Most of the robotic machines that researchers have developed so far, take inspiration from our natural surroundings and living things. Ron Fearing’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley has been at the forefront for designing agile robots which have a certain purpose.
Now, roboticists at UC Berkeley have come-up with a parkour robot which can give any freerunners a good run for their money. Dubbed as Salto (saltatorial locomotion on terrain obstacles), the robot’s design is inspired by agile creature ‘galago’ which can perform multiple jumps.
Duncan Haldane, a robotics Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley:
Developing a metric to easily measure vertical agility was key to Salto’s design because it allowed us to rank animals by their jumping agility and then identify a species for inspiration. The ultimate ambition to develop this robot is to assist in future search and rescue missions which require access to complex landscapes.
The robot uses power modulation by storing muscular energy in the flexible tendons for acquiring concentrated power when in a crouched position. This enables Salto to re-jump again and again.
Salto weighs 100 grams in total and is 26 centimeters tall in full extended position. It can jump to a height of one meter and do it multiple times. It’s most catchy jumping style is the jump off a vertical wall, which parkour experts also love to perform.
Haldane wants to make subtle improvements to the robot by reducing its weight and powering up its motors.