Jumping Robot for Lunar Exploration Can 100 Feet Over Complex Terrains | Science Times


Jumping Robot Might Be the Next Instrument for Lunar Exploration, Can Leap 100 Feet Over Complex Terrains

(Photo : Elliot W. Hawkes / UCSB / Nature)

Scholars from the University of California Santa Barbara achieved a new engineering breakthrough. In the study, experts developed a robotic machine that could jump as high as 100 times its height.


Jumping Robot Might Be the Next Instrument for Lunar Exploration, Can Leap 100 Feet Over Complex Terrains

The jumping robot was designed to leap over the complex terrains on the moon. The main focus of this research is to create a machine that could easily travel on rocky surfaces on future lunar and other astronomical missions instead of pursuing research on wheels.

UCSB's Department of Mechanical Engineering specialist Elliot Hawkes led the study with colleagues from the institute. The robot they assembled can jump over rocky surfaces to gain fast travel, particularly on space ventures such as the moon mission.

The jumping robot scales to 30 centimeters in height and hops at a vertical distance of 32.9 meters or about 100 feet. The team equipped the machine with a carbon-fiber sprung skeleton to perform the highest leap possible.

Hawkes explains that the maximum height of the robot's jumping skills exceeds the limits of animals who have the same capability. The author said that most jumping animals only reach a certain amount of height due to the muscles they have in their bodies.

These physiological muscles could only do just a single stroke, which serves as the most significant limiting factor when jumping animals leap upward. Compared to the natural muscles, a tiny motor that contains rotating springs could help a body hop higher.

This mechanism was designed at the bottom part of the robot, allowing itself to jump as high as it can using a large volume of energy stored before the leap, DailyMail reports.

The hopping robot has a relatively smaller body than other moving robots we see today. It also weighs about 30 grams only but can compress the spring-based jump mechanism despite having a single motor in its system.

Next Lunar Exploration Robot?

Energies stored during the robot's charge time are rapidly released to launch its body up in the air. Upon landing, the robot would be lying sideways but could stand back up again by re-tensioning the specialized springs on its bottom part. After regaining its upward position, the robot would be ready for another jump.

Hawkes explained that the leaping robot could also perform similar stunts on the moon's unique environment, NewScientist reports.

According to the authors, the machine would reach at least 125 meters in height and could travel about a half kilometer per jump on the lunar surface. This superb displacement feature makes the robot suited for being a fast and reliable exploration instrument in space.

Hawkes explained that the jumping robot would be able to reach more height than what it does here on our planet due to the absence of gravity and air. On Earth, the robot loses about 25 percent of its potential leaping height due to the natural factors but could be able to hop incredibly on inaccessible terrains and craters when utilized for moon explorations, the engineer continued.

The study was published in the journal Nature, titled "Engineered jumpers overcome biological limits via work multiplication."

Check out more news and information on Robotics in Science Times.