We've seen all kinds of crazy jumping robots, from humanoids to grasshoppers to soft and flexible spheres. But when you start making small robots, like seriously small robots (on the millimeter scale), you have to find new ways to get them to jump, and the Army Research Laboratory has teamed up with the University of Maryland to develop a couple clever ideas. To move, it relies on on the rapid conversion of stored chemical energy to gas in a chemical reaction, which is just a fancy way of saying either rocket motor or controlled explosion. First Leaps Toward Jumping Microrobots by Wayne A. Churaman, Aaron P. Gerratt, and Sarah Bergbreiter from the Army Research Laboratory and the University of Maryland Microrobotics Lab was presented this week at the 2011 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.
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