Autonomous Robots

, Volume 14, Issue 2–3, pp 239–254 | Cite as

The Development of Hopping Capabilities for Small Robots

  • Paolo Fiorini
  • Joel Burdick


This paper describes the development of small hopping robots that are useful for many tasks in unknown, rugged terrain, and are especially suited to celestial exploration in small gravity environments. The family of hopping, or jumping, robots described here is characterized by discontinuous motion, whereby the robot stops after each jump to regain the upright position, recharge its jumping mechanism and localize itself. We describe the evolution of our hopping robot concept by way of the main prototypes that we have developed. These prototypes show that a small robot can move effectively by hopping provided that it is equipped with steering, jumping, and self-righting capabilities. The last prototype is also equipped with wheels to achieve precision motion after landing. Lessons learned during the development of these prototypes have general applicability to the design of hopping or jumping robots. In addition to reviewing some of the key aspects of the design of jumping systems, this paper gives detailed pictures and descriptions of the mechanism of the various prototypes.

hopping robots small robots nano rovers planetary rovers planetary exploration 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Fiorini
    • 1
  • Joel Burdick
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Mechanical EngineeringCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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