Stephen McNally/UC Berkeley
Salto the Earth

This Adorable Bouncing Robot Would Be Terrifying if It Was Huge

byKristin Houser
5. 22. 19
Stephen McNally/UC Berkeley

Salto is fast, agile, and smart. Thankfully, it's also really tiny.

Hop Along

Salto might just be the world’s cutest robot.

Rather than walk, the bot rapidly bounces around on its single leg like a Tigger that just guzzled a case of Mountain Dew. It can nimbly navigate an obstacle course, jumping three times its own height in a single bound and timing its landings to hit a moving target.

In other words, Salto is fast, agile, and smart — and it’d be terrifying if it weren’t less than a foot tall.

Life Saver

Thankfully, the UC Berkeley researchers who’ve been developing Salto for nearly four years aren’t planning to scale the bot up into some kind of super-weapon.


In fact, they see the robot’s diminutive stature as one of its primary strengths — and they hope Salto could one day save lives, not threaten them.

“Small robots are really great for a lot of things, like running around in places where larger robots or humans can’t fit,” researcher Justin Yim said in a press release. “For example, in a disaster scenario, where people might be trapped under rubble, robots might be really useful at finding the people in a way that is not dangerous to rescuers and might even be faster than rescuers could have done unaided.”

READ MORE: With a hop, a skip and a jump, high-flying robot leaps over obstacles with ease [UC Berkeley]

More on small robots: Tiny Spies: This Insect-Like Flying Robot is Smaller Than a Penny


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