Long time readers of Robots.net may remember the flurry of news about micro-rockets that occurred back in 2001 starting with their use as a launching system for smart dust. Micro-rockets are back, this time as the propulsion system for tiny jumping robots developed by the Army Research Lab and the University of Maryland’s Micro Robotics Lab. The Army Research Lab published a report a few years back with ideas on how to build these tiny rockets, titled Technological Challenges in Solid Energetic Materials for Micro Propulsion Applications (PDF format). One downside to using rockets is that you need to include lots of little rockets if you want your micro robot to jump more than once. One alternative the same researchers have developed is a micro-sized elastomer spring that stores and releases kinetic energy to make the robot jump over and over, as high as 80 times the robot’s height. This news of micro rockets and jump bots comes via Sarah Bergbreiter‘s paper “First Leaps Toward Jumping Microbots”, which was presented at the recent IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and System. via UMB ME dept news release
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