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Locust Robots Gain Power of Super-Jumping

We all love robots, right up until the day that they decide to wage war upon their human masters. Until then, we continue to give them one ability after another that will help them achieve their future goals. Bipedal locomotion? Check. Wall-crawling? Check. Super strength, durability and speed? Triple check. About the only thing they can't do is jump, so what the heck, let's give them that too!

This tiny robot can not only jump to four times its own height, but it can also land right-side-up every single time, thanks to the addition of a roll cage. It can also steer while mid-air by spinning within the cage, making it one of the first robots that can leap to exactly where it wants to go.

Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL, patterned the robot's pouncing prowess on one of nature's most celebrated jumpers, the grasshopper. Project Mirko Kovac hopes that his superlight, super-bouncy creation will find future application in space exploration, where its ability to jump over obstacles will help immensely.

[source:EPFL via Bot Junkie]