Jumping robots: A biomimetic solution to locomotion across rough terrain

Rhodri Armour, K Paskins, Adrian Bowyer, Julian Vincent, William Megill, R Bomphrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Citations (SciVal)


This paper introduces jumping robots as a means to traverse rough terrain; such terrain can pose problems for traditional wheeled, tracked and legged designs. The diversity of jumping mechanisms found in nature is explored to support the theory that jumping is a desirable ability for a robot locomotion system to incorporate, and then the size-related constraints are determined from first principles. A series of existing jumping robots are presented and their performance summarized. The authors present two new biologically inspired jumping robots, Jollbot and Glumper, both of which incorporate additional locomotion techniques of rolling and gliding respectively. Jollbot consists of metal hoop springs forming a 300 mm diameter sphere, and when jumping it raises its centre of gravity by 0.22 m and clears a height of 0.18 m. Glumper is of octahedral shape, with four 'legs' that each comprise two 500 mm lengths of CFRP tube articulating around torsion spring 'knees'. It is able to raise its centre of gravity by 1.60 m and clears a height of 1.17 m. The jumping performance of the jumping robot designs presented is discussed and compared against some specialized jumping animals. Specific power output is thought to be the performance-limiting factor for a jumping robot, which requires the maximization of the amount of energy that can be stored together with a minimization of mass. It is demonstrated that this can be achieved through optimization and careful materials selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S65-S82
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007


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