Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have spent the last 15 years developing a new robot that will be able to climb and jump, which could be used in goods transport or military activity by using its new functions to cross dangerous or rough environments and terrain.
The RHex’s leg-like structure allows it to traverse obstacles in ways that wheels cannot. Graduate student Aaron Johnson and Professor Daniel Koditschek, both of the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science are the two minds behind the research and currently working on new ways for RHex to run, jump, and climb. They presented the research in the paper entitled Toward a Vocabulary of Legged Leaping.
Using its legs in different sequences, the RHex robot can jump and mount different objects such as a wall, where it can launch itself and grasp the surface and then use its front legs to drag the rest of its body over the object.
“What we want is a robot that can go anywhere, even over terrain that might be broken and uneven,” explains Aaron Johnson. “These latest jumps greatly expand the range of what this machine is capable of, as it can now jump onto or across obstacles that are bigger than it is.”