Disney Researchers Build First Tetherless Hopping Robot


One-legged hopping robots have some balance issues. Their reliance on off-board power has kept them fast. Although, one-legged robots can only move by hopping. Now, Disney scientists have discovered a hopper that runs on battery power. This is the first ever one legged hopping robot hopper that does not need a connection to an external motor or power.

Joohyung Kim, associate research scientist at Disney Research said, “One-legged robots can only move by hopping, freeing them of tethers would open up new, non-research uses. The highly efficient leg modules also can be combined to create multi-legged robots.”

Scientists actually want to create a light and effective robot. SO scientists developed this hopping robot which weighs a little less than five pounds and one foot in height. The robot can maintain its balance by itself own for approximately seven seconds, or 19 hops. But researchers expect an increase in onboard computing power could keep it upright far longer.

Generally, lots of hoppers consist of hydraulic devices. But hydraulic actuation requires off-board motors. Additionally, they are active enough to pose issues outside of a controlled laboratory environment.

Scientists have then designed a linear elastic actuator in parallel, or LEAP to a linear elastic actuator in parallel, or LEAP. It makes the robot hop to use electrical power. The LEAP uses a voice coil actuator. Voice coil actuator is a highly efficient actuator that operates the same way as a loudspeaker driver. It is combined with two compression springs. The voice coil actuator and a pair of springs to give it extra bounce.

There is a flat platform that connects with robot’s leg. This platform shields the batteries, sensors, and controlling computer. The angle of the leg is adjusted at each hop. For this, scientists used two standard servo motors to keep this upper torso level during hopping.

This hopping robot containing the torso’s weight is only about twice as heavy as the leg. These overall things are balanced by an algorithm that was trained in 3D simulations. The result is this hopping robot can hop about untethered for up to 19 jumps before falling over.

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