Disney Research Jumping Robot
Teams from Disney Research and the University of California, Santa Barbara have built a jumping robot capable of hopping nearly 100-feet (33-meters) in the air. The robot itself stands about 1-foot-tall (30 cm) and weighs in at just 30 grams, thanks to its carbon fiber construction, namely the bow, which acts as the spring in conjunction with rubber bands.

Powering this jumping robot is a center console that consists of a motor, batteries, and a latching mechanism secured to a string joining both top / bottom sections. Before jumping, the robot spins up its motor for 2-minutes, resulting in a fully wound string that compresses the robot downwards before the latching mechanism is released. Once that happens, the stored energy is released in a blistering 9 milliseconds, releasing a specific energy of over 1,000 joules per kilogram. The Knightscope K5 security robot could definitely use some of its jumping ability.

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Disney Research Jumping Robot

Seeing our robot jump for the first time was magical. We started with a design much more like a pogo stick before coming to a bow design, then to the hybrid spring design with the rubber bands and bows together. Countless hours went into troubleshooting all kinds of challenging mechanical problems, from gearbox teeth shearing off to hinges breaking to carbon-fiber springs exploding,” said Elliot Hawkes, First Author from UC Santa Barbara to IEEE Spectrum.

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