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'robot Locust' Can Traverse Rocky Terrain and Assist in Search and Rescue

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A locust and the "TAUB" (for "Tel Aviv University and Ort Braude College") robot.

A new miniature robot is poised to make a major contribution to the field of advanced robotics.

Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers have developed TAUB, a locust-inspired robot that can jump twice as high as existing similar robots. The machine can jump 11 feet high, and cover a horizontal distance of 4.5 feet in a single leap.

The researchers say TAUB should perform well in search-and-rescue missions and in reconnaissance operations in rough terrain.

"Our locust-inspired miniature jumping robot is a beautiful example of bio-inspired technological innovation," says TAU professor Amir Ayali.

The researchers printed the robot's body on a three-dimensional printer, and used stiff carbon rods and steel wire to make the legs and torsion springs. A small onboard battery powers the robot, which is remotely controlled through an onboard microcontroller.

"Biological knowledge, gained by observing and studying locusts, was combined with state-of-the-art engineering and cutting-edge technologies, allowing biological principles to be implemented in a miniature robotic jumping mechanism," Ayali says.

Instead of producing an exact mechanical replica of a locust, the researchers focused on some of the specific biomechanical features of the locust's highly successful jumping mechanism. Like a locust, the robot's jumping ability can be attributed to its ability to store energy in its torsion springs.

From American Friends of Tel Aviv University
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