Toyota Robot Leg Has Bird-Like Vertical Leap

A new robot leg from Toyota Motor Corporation has the unique distinction of being able to actually jump off the ground.

(Toyota robot leg)

The robot leg, which looks like it might have been designed by Evinrude, the outboard motor manufacturer, is about one meter in height. The secret to jumping lies in the special joint in its "toe." The ability to jump or hop just a bit will enable robots of the future to negotiate uneven terrain more easily.

The prototype robot leg can achieve a jump of up to four centimeters, or roughly 1.6 inches. If you don't think that's very impressive, consider that this is roughly the vertical leap achieved by such basketball stars as Larry Bird and Bill Bradley. (Fans should consider carefully before they decide who/what is being dissed here!)

I only have one problem with this story; some of the source articles mention this robot leg as appearing in the 2005 World Expo. I'd hate to think I was using an old story reference in a future-oriented site...

Even if it is a year old, it's still futuristic. And we're that much closer to the Six Million Dollar Man. Take a look at the related Bionic Arm Uses Neuro-Engineering and don't forget an early robotic leg reference, the bionic legs from Martin Caidin's 1972 novel Cyborg:

They had created, lovingly, with infinite attention to detail, a bionics and electronics duplicate of what had been the legs of Steve Austin...
(Read more about the Six Million Dollar Man's bionic legs)

Update 25-Oct-2016: I just remembered the dope mule robot from Heavy Weather (1994) by Bruce Sterling. End update.

Read not much more at physorg and headline news.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/15/2006)

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