Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


Lincoln Fellow Prof Dominic Vella helps develop beetle-inspired jumping robots

24 Jan 2023

Inspired by jumping insects, Lincoln College's Professor Dominic Vella and other University of Oxford researchers have helped develop a miniature robot capable of leaping more than 40 times its body length- equivalent to a human jumping up to the 20th floor of a building. The innovation could be a major step forward in developing microrobots for a wide range of applications.

The team anticipate that the design could ultimately enable the production of fully-autonomous miniature robots, capable of navigating unfamiliar terrain and self-righting themselves. Their ability to access small spaces could make them useful in precision agriculture and performing maintenance on large machines like turbines and jet engines.

Professor Vella said: ‘This robot combines the best of natural design and man-made innovation. Insects can move extremely quickly but can’t store large amounts of energy because they are limited by natural materials, while robots typically store a large amount of energy but release this relatively slowly. Because energy is stored in our robot in a stainless-steel beam, it can achieve a high energy density to power even higher jumps than click beetles; because our robots mimic the beetle’s jumping technique, their jump is faster than typical robots.’

‘Perhaps the most astonishing finding from our model was the sheer level of acceleration’ he added. ‘During the jump, the robot reaches a peak acceleration of 250G. In comparison, an astronaut in the launch of a space rocket reaches around 3G, and humans blackout at around 9G.’

You can read this fascinating paper HERE.

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