Imagine Pixar’s Luxo Jr. lamp on steroids, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Salto-1P is all about. If you want to get technical — we certainly do — Salto-1P is a robot based on the “spring-loaded inverted pendulum” model. The “inverted pendulum” part of that name means that it uses inertia to stay balanced upright with very little energy, like a Segway. The “spring-loaded” part means that it uses springs to redirect kinetic energy from gravity into jumps. The result is a robot that can bounce around on one leg, and is completely adorable.
Salto-1P doesn’t just jump around randomly like a drunk kangaroo, it can direct those leaps in a controlled manner to move around as necessary. It’s capable of hopping a couple of feet high, and can jump to specific locations and hit the mark within a foot 95% of the time. As the researchers demonstrate in the video above, Salto-1P can utilize that capability to hop up onto furniture with amazing dexterity — something very few robots can do. We’re not quite sure what the practical applications would be, but we want Salto-1Ps in our homes anyway.