Disney Research presents their design and control for an untethered, energetically autonomous single-legged hopping robot. While this isn’t the first hopping robot to be built, it is the first not to rely on a tether or external power source for its hopping.
From their website:
“The thrust-producing mechanism of the robot’s leg is an actuated prismatic joint, called a linear elastic actuator in parallel (LEAP). The LEAP mechanism comprises of a voice-coil actuator in parallel with two compression springs, which gives our robot passive compliance. An actuated gimbal hip joint is realized by two standard servomotors.”
The researchers adapted a Raibert’s hopping controller to control the robot and found it could maintain balance in place for up to 7 seconds, or 19 hops, while continuously hopping.
Here are a few more pictures of the hopping robot:
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