Dr. Mirko KovačThe New Scientist article Mechanical locomotion principles from jumping insects applied to microrobots said
Taking its inspiration from the grasshopper, a tiny two-legged robot that stores elastic energy in springs has leaped 27 times its own height, smashing the record of 17 times set by a previous robot.
Its creators hope that swarms of such hopping robots could spread out to explore disaster areas, or even the surfaces of other planets.
The robot is only 5 centimetres tall, and weighs just 7 grams. A motor designed to power the vibration unit of a pager drives a system of gears that gradually wind two metal springs.
Hopping provides an effective way for tiny robots to get around on rough terrain, says Dario Floreano, who worked on the robot with colleague Mirko Kovac.
Mirko Kovač, Ph.D.
is director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory and lecturer at the
Aeronautics Department at Imperial College London.
His research interest is the conception and design of novel morphologies and locomotion methods for mobile robots and their analogy in biological systems. Before his appointment in London, he was post-doctoral researcher at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory as part of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA.
Mirko coauthored A Perching Mechanism for Micro Aerial Vehicles, Steerable miniature jumping robot, A miniature 7g jumping robot, Towards the Self Deploying Microglider, a biomimetic jumping and gliding robot, A 1.5g SMA-actuated Microglider looking for the Light, Towards the Self Deploying Microglider; Gliding Flight and Bioinspired Wing Folding Mechanism, and Self Deploying Microglider.
He earned his MSc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) in Mechanical Engineering after completing his Master Thesis at the University of California in Berkeley in 2005 with the title “Micro and Nano Scale Flow around Biological Cells”. During his studies he was research associate with RIETER Automotive Switzerland, the WARTSILA Diesel Technology Division in Switzerland, and CISERV in Singapore. He earned his Ph.D. from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems within the School of Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) with the thesis Jumping Locomotion for Miniature Robotics.
Watch Miniature Glider with Head-first Perching from EPFL. Read Mirko’s LinkedIn profile. Visit his personal webpage.