Miniature Robot Jumps & Manipulates Itself Mid-Air Using Actuated Tail
In nature, small animals or insects use multiple locomotion methods to efficiently travel in difficult environments. Inspired by the multi-modal locomotion ability found in animals, Michigan State University researchers have built a tiny robot that is capable of moving itself around on wheels, jumping, and also manipulating its body while in mid-air - using its actuated tail - to assist in a safe and controlled landing. The robot, called Tailbot, is equipped with on-board energy, sensing, control, and wireless communication capabilities, which enables tetherless or autonomous operation. TailBot weighs 26.5 grams, is 7.5 centimeters tall, and can leap into the air as high as 10 times its own body size. It has many applications ranging from search and rescue, military surveillance, and environmental monitoring.