For animals and animal-inspired machines, launching into flight takes lots of energy. Some animals have evolved to achieve air not by accelerating and lifting off, but by jumping and then using their wings or flaps of skin to glide — like sugar gliders, for instance, or grasshoppers. Now a new Swiss robot can do this, too.
Behold the jumpglider, a hybrid jumping and gliding robot with two types of wing designs. It can base-jump off a building or another high surface, like this other Swiss glider, and then keep jumping once it has glided to a stop. It’s modeled after locusts and by the wing-walking abilities of bats.
In the first video, a locust-inspired glider hops down a staircase, gliding to a gentle crash landing every few steps before jumping off again.