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Zippy new jumping bot catches air again and again

Search-and-rescue version of ‘Salto’ could parkour through disaster scene rubble

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2:00pm, December 6, 2016
Jumping robot

SUPER JUMPER  A little robot named Salto is an agile jumper that relies on a twisted latex spring to gain extra height. One day, robots like it could bound across rubble in search-and-rescue operations.

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Meet the robot that can do parkour.

Salto, a lightweight bot that stands on one skinny leg like a flamingo, can leap from floor to wall, then off again — like parkour athletes bouncing between buildings, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley report December 6 in Science Robotics.

Salto’s not the highest jumping robot out there, but it’s got something others lack: speed. The new bot can spring a meter off the ground in just 0.58 seconds — about what a bullfrog can do, study coauthor Duncan Haldane said in a news conference December 5.

The robot’s mix of air and speed could one day aid search-and-rescue teams, he said. Ideally, a rescue robot would be able to move quickly and nimbly over rubble (SN: 12/13/14, p. 16). To do

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