Intelligent Machines

This Super-Springy Robot Can Do Parkour

Salto may be the most agile automaton ever built.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have built a robot with huge ups.

Salto can launch itself a meter in the air despite weighing less than a quarter pound and standing only a few inches high. It achieves this by getting into what one of its inventors, Duncan Haldane, calls a "super-crouch." This allows it to spend a long time in contact with the ground when jumping.

But its true standout skill is how fast it can reload and jump again. Haldane built Salto to mimic the leaping ability of a galago, a small, springy primate that lives in Africa. Galagos can jump a bit higher than Salto—1.7 meters versus one meter—but like galagos, Salto can get ready for its next jump in a fraction of a second, allowing it to chain together jumps that get it higher and farther than it could in a single bound.

Basically, it does parkour.

(Read more: IEEE Spectrum, "This Robot Crosses Rough Ground Like a Human Does," "The Latest Boston Dynamics Creation Escapes the Lab, Roams the Snowy Woods")

 

 

Hear more about robots at EmTech MIT 2017.

Register now

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.