A group of scientists at researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa have created an incredible jumping robot that is inspired by the unique movements of jumping spiders. Many species of jumping spider affix themselves securely to their perch using a silken thread that acts like a backup tether. This mechanism has now been applied to the robotic spider.
The robot itself is named the Line-Equipped Autonomous Platform or LEAP, and is largely made out of LEGO Technics pieces -- with a simple spool of nylon acting as the safety tether. As the robot falls, it adjusts the tension of its tether using a motor, and can add or reduce drag on its line to change its flight path.
In the future, this jumping spider-inspired robot could leap from a perch and land on its feet, something that would enable it to be used in a wide variety of industrial and military settings.