Most land-dwelling animals with skeletons (exo or endo) have the ability to jump. It is of particular importance to survival, as running primarily consists of a long series of jumps. Without the ability to jump, a robot's freedom to move around is limited, something that is particularly true of smaller robots for which even relatively narrow trenches or low walls can prove too much of an obstacle. A robotics group at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has taught a six-legged crawling robot to jump, giving it remarkable acrobatic capabilities.
After years of trial and error, a Japanese hobbyist has built a gymnast robot that can perform a somersault off a horizontal bar in his living room and stick the landing. The man, who goes by the handle Hinamitetu on YouTube, built the first version of the robot out of boredom after being laid off from a job back in 2010. Since then, the robot has gone through twelve revisions. Although somewhat crudely made, the robot incorporates sensors to automatically clamp onto the bar, and an accelerometer to determine when to let go.