If you think about it, there is no reason for robots to look like humans or even robots! A wonderfully blunt bone called Salto shows why. It is modeled after the galago, or Senegalese bush baby – a small primate with powerful legs that can jump meters into the air. And, like bush babies & # 39; s, Salto is perfect: really a robot that I would like to call mine.
Unfortunately, there is only one Salto and it is the work of researchers from UC Berkely. Since it was first unveiled in 2016, it has been slowly upgraded by its human makers and with the latest iteration, announced this week, Salto is now able to bounce and wander around the outside world for up to 10 minutes at a time.
Earlier versions of Salto were limited to the lab, where motion-capture cameras were needed to give the robot feedback on its position and help it stay upright. But an updated version of the bot is now supplied with sufficient internal sensors so that it can maintain its own balance without observing the eye of a camera.
This means that UC Berkeley grad student Justin Yim, who was in charge of the work on the Salto upgrades, can send the 100 gram robot around in the real world with the help of a controller. As Yim and his colleagues explain in a recent paper, Salto has enough sense for the environment to remain upright, but it is still dependent on human handlers to navigate through major obstacles.
Although Salto certainly looks nice, it can have serious applications. "Small robots are really great for many things, such as running around in places where larger robots or people can't," Yim said in a press mail, give the example of using the robot in a disaster scenario. "We wanted Salto to not only be small, but also to jump really high and very fast, so that it could navigate in these difficult places."
The name "Salto" actually comes from the word "saltatorial", which is used by biologists to describe animals that have adapted to jump. Kangaroos, grasshoppers, and rabbits are some of the most common saltatorial creatures you may have heard of, but Salto also falls into that category. Although the fact that it only has one leg explains why one investigator described it as a "hyper-aggressive pogo stick".
Hyper-aggressive or not, imagine that this small colliding robot has to follow you through the house all day.