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Meet Salto, the jumping robot who lands with precision and style

In previous articles we have talked about the different locomotion alternatives that have been developed to make the movement of robots possible, where we highlighted a few days ago the initiative carried out by scientists from the University of California with the creation of flexible feet. to facilitate the mobility of machines on uneven surfaces.

On this occasion, the Biomimetrics Laboratory of the University of Berkeley brings us to Jump, a single-legged robot built in 2016 that, as its name suggests, has been endowed with the ability to perform double jumps from the walls in the best parkour style.

Arrived in 2018, this robot had acquired enough skill to perform jumps of up to a meter in height with remarkable precision, bouncing off obstacles autonomously, even using chairs to bounce towards a table.

However, despite these capabilities, Salto still had difficulties to maneuver on the ground since, although the robot can keep a jigger moving dynamically, when it comes to hitting a landing, this action represented a challenge for the robot. also taking into account the fact of having only one leg to move.

This is how angular velocity was still an obstacle for Leap to deal with, especially in situations where he was attempting to perform a forward jump from one point to another.

In this sense, the robot leaned forward, supported by a rotating reaction wheel to maintain balance in which it then applied an adjustment in the rotation of that balance wheel to move its foot forward and place it at an angle that allow a controlled landing. In case its angular velocity was off, it could land its foot without problem on the target but it would end up falling.

The jump to the solution

The solution to this problem was revealed by Justin Yim, leader of the Salto development team, during an interview offered to the IEEE Spectrum.

In it, Yim proposed a situation in which if Jump fell from a height of one meter, he would have about 2.3 degrees of margin to maneuver back and forth to make his landing, something very similar to what a gymnast would experience when hitting. a landing with your feet together.

If the angular velocity is misapplied, it is inevitable that a step must be taken to obtain equilibrium.

However, taking a one-legged step under these conditions is an impossible task, just like on a ledge or narrow beam. And it is that, in the same way that a person turns his arms when landing on a ledge beam, so does Salto turn his reaction tail.

Thanks to this characteristic, Salto was able to make a perfectly controlled landing 52 times out of a total of 60 jumps in which his precision was tested, managing to sit on his heel 5 times and fall only 3 times.

These results mean that Salto could be used to fulfill the main purpose set during its construction: to participate in search and rescue missions to navigate difficult terrain where this little robot could be very useful to jump over rubble, rocks and debris more quickly. and security than a human being.

In this video you will be able to observe in greater detail the mechanics involved in the operation of Salto