When it comes to getting over things that obstruct its path, Jumping Sumo either goes around them or jumps over them. In both cases, it’s fairly obvious that nothing can stop it.
Jumping Sumo was developed by Parrot, the French company that built the highly acclaimed Parrot AR Drone, a flying quadcopter helicopter controllable via smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. If AR Drone was meant to take over the skies, Jumping Sumo feels in its own element at ground level. Of course, such an unusual robot had to be exhibited somewhere where it could get a lot of publicity, so Parrot decided to show it off at CES, in Las Vegas, last week.
There is a possibility that Parrot wanted to make a smartphone controlled car, but what they ended up with is a two wheeler who can jump higher than most basketball players (that’s in comparison to one’s own height).
The big rubber wheels and the durable plastic compound that Jumping Sumo’s body is made of ensure resistance to impacts. After all, the shocks would be pretty serious, considering the height of 80 cm at which this little bot can jump. Parrot built the robot’s wheels so that they can be retracted closer to the body, thus allowing Jumping Sumo to crawl through tighter spaces. While a metal piston-style mechanism projects the robot upwards, the rubber wheels make sure that the landing doesn’t do any damage.
Parrot’s latest bot is probably intended for spying people, as it streams in real time whatever it sees through its QVGA 320 x 240 pixel camera directly to the iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Look at it this way: a FHD camera would make this robot even more expensive.
The part I don’t get in this bot’s name is Sumo. It’s a bit of common knowledge that Sumo fighters aren’t among the most athletic people on Earth, nor are they characterized by speed. Jumping Sumo, on the other hand, is quite fast.
No price or availability details were disclosed by Parrot, but it’s anyone’s guess that the French drone manufacturer will launch it sometime this year. Otherwise they wouldn’t have exhibited it at CES, would they? The above video includes a demonstration that should give you a fair idea about how Parrot Jumping Sumo works.