Adobrable bush baby inspires super-jumping robot

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Researchers are looking to the natural world for inspiration that will one day help them design life-saving robots. 

Salto is a monopedal and somewhat skeletal 10.2-inch-tall robot that can jump higher and more quickly than most other robots in the world today. A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, revealed the new hopping bot on Tuesday in a study published this week in the new journal Science Robotics.

Instead of taking just one big leap, Salto bounces off a wall with impressive force to complete an even bigger jump, much as a parkour expert might bound from a ledge to a wall and then fly through the air to his next perch. The new robot could be a predecessor to a future tool that may one day jump across dangerous terrain to aid in rescue missions. Read more…

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Atlas humanoid robot can now tiptoe over rubble to track down wayward humans

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In this latest episode of How We’re Making Robots That Will Be Able to Hunt You Down Wherever You Go, our old friend the Atlas humanoid robot has learned a scary new trick: walking over pretty much any unexpected obstacle. 

We’ve seen the Atlas show off its walking and balancing skills before, but in this new demonstration it navigates its way over random, unknown objects of varying sizes. You know, kinda like building rubble a human might hide under after Skynet has already laid waste to the city. 

The important aspect of this demo is the fact that Atlas had no preexisting knowledge of the terrain, so it isn’t simply walking a set course, it’s actually figuring out how to handle new, foreign objects in its path and adjusting its weight and balance with each step much like a human would.  Read more…

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