Each week I am seeing more and more robotics projects and research material show up on the web. It's cool to see so many colleges and universities building robots for one task or another. Had my college let us build robots rather than mousetrap-powered cars, I might have stayed in engineering school. The latest robot to show up is called KURMET. He may have a name similar to Miss Piggy's crush, but this bot isn't green.
The robot was designed by researchers from Ohio State University and the University of Notre Dame with one purpose - controllable, repeatable jumping. That arm you see in the photo and video of the robot is supposedly only there to stabilize the robot and doesn't offer any assistance with the jumping. This robot is a little strange looking to me with its blue knob feet. The bot learns to jump using a fuzzy control system.
Jumping isn't all KURMET will be used to do. The research team hopes to eventually teach the robot to do flips and play hopscotch. I can see an ultimate use for a robot that can jump things and is very stable. The military needs robots that can avoid obstacles and make it over rough ground. Having to jump fallen trees and debris would be a big help in that situation.