The next hurdle
> The researchers hope the rubber band and carbon fibre combo will find applications in the real world, and beyond.
An impressive feat.
I look forward to seeing the Mk2 version that can carry a usable payload.
Scientists with a grant have done what none thought possible – perhaps few even gave any thought to – and smashed the world record for the highest jumping robot. With a design resembling two bicycle wheels held together with rubber bands, the engineered jumper can leap more than 30 metres high, 100 times its own height and …
Yes, From the articles "...125m high while covering half a kilometer in a single bound..." might be impressive, but what is it going to do when it gets there? How many bounds before it breaks?
The principle is interesting, but will it scale up enough to carry some sort of scientific instruments, a transmitter to send data back and a battery pack enough for the mission. I suspect current solar cell tech might not survive the bounds or the landings, probably dust uplifted by the landing settling on the solar cells or even a safe way of landing right side up for the solar cells to work.
I sometimes wonder if this sort of technology is on similar lines to a Space Elevator. Possible in principle, but the materials aren't there (yet).
> I look forward to seeing the Mk2 version that can carry a usable payload
Indeed, because if it can not carry something useful and deploy it somewhere distant, sorry, it's just a toy. Not wanting to dis their baby, but given it's shaped as a big circular spring it won't be easy to put much payload on it (and any additional (pay)load will severely reduce its performances anyway).
Last but definitely not least, its sole CV entry "able to overcome obstacles previously only navigated by flying robots" begs immediately the question "what's wrong with flying robots?". Remarkable technical achievement, but it seems to me it solves a problem nobody had. (Once again.)
> don't work well on the Moon
So what? There isn't much going on on the Moon right now, is there. Yes, there have been sound bites and promises all around for several years now, but we're not there yet, literally. Also, if eventually we need some kind of aircraft for the Moon, we'll need something able to move people and cargo around, not just a tiny hopping webcam style thingy. *shrug*
Not more than a complicated spring if it can't jump again.
I suggest you read the article again.
It employs a rotary motor to multiply the work and uses specially selected springs and rubber bands that allow the system to store energy. If you look closely at the photo supplied you can see that a "string" from the cone to the opposite side of the "wheels". The motor reels in the string to flatten the wheels and tension up the rubber bands. Presumably, a radio signal (or possibly just a timer), tells the motor to start winding again after the jump is completed.
Personally, I think it could be made to jump higher simply by removing the rubber bands and simply relying on the stored energy in the carbon fibre. As an engineering student (several millennia ago), I was was taught never to call rubber bands, "elastic bands" because they are far from elastic. I know some modern elastomers are far more energy efficient, but I believe the current research is going into Carbon Nano Tube (CNT)Yarn as the way to store spring energy. Maybe they could substitute CNT yarn for the rubber although I don't know how extensible it is.
At first glance, I’d read “CNT yarn” as “CNT yam”. Perhaps unadorned 16px Arial could use a bit more letter spacing after a lower case “r”. (Italic is nearly as ambiguous; bold, however, is readily distinguishable, as the comment title shows.)