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Introducing Salto-1P, the miniature robot whose jumping function gives the energy of a super hyper-aggressive pogo-stick.

Created by UC Berkeley's biomimetic millisystems lab, Salto – which is short for "Saltatorial Locomotion on Terrain Obstacles" – is designed to mimic saltatorial jumping animals like kangaroos and rabbits.

Salto-1P uses a small motor and a system of linkages and gears to jump, making little contact with the ground. Whilst in the air, it uses a rotating tail and two little thrusters to stabilise and reorient itself in between jumps.

Originally, Salto was able to control its pitch through the use of a rotating inertial tail. By spinning the tail one way, the robot could launch in a different direction. Weighing in at only 98 grams, it harnesses enough power to give it the highest vertical jumping agility of any battery powered robot at 1.83 m/s. Unfortunately, even with its most recent updates, the jumping robot’s extreme saltatorial skills are the cause of its demise.

It’s important to note that when you see Salto-1P bouncing around in the video, it’s doing so untethered, but not completely autonomously: There’s a bunch of stuff going on in the background to get it to perform the way it does. The path it follows relies on motion capture, with an offboard computer (though not a particularly powerful one) receiving tracking data and wirelessly sending control commands to the robot.

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