RHex robot jumps like Roo, bounds around like Tigger

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As far as the robot acrobatics go, forget the little robot that can pirouette around a horizontal bar. Instead, turn your attentions to RHex, the six-legged robot thatcan jump reasonably far for a machine of its size.

The University of Pennsylvania’s RHex bot leaps across chasms or over obstacles by performing multiple jumps in order to gain momentum before it makes its big leap. And since it can scurry around, it can get a running start if need be, too. Its C-shaped legs can rotate 360 degrees to help the 20-inch machine spring into action.

At first, RHex looks like it's lying down because of how its legs stick up in the air. However, these legs rotate around so that RHex stands on them, and they propel RHex enough to push it into the air. Thanks to the legs' shape and movement falls over or loses its balance, it can easily right itself and stand back up.

How high can it jump? According to UPenn, RHex can jump as high as 75cm (roughly 30 inches), and leap forward up to 60cm (about 2 feet). Make it a little larger and more powerful, and maybe it'll be able to clear hurdles.

[YouTube via Gizmodo]

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