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Thread: Hopping Vehicles

  1. #1 Hopping Vehicles 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I've been reading a bit about kangaroos lately, and their hopping method of locomotion, and I wonder if it would make any sense to try and use it in a vehicle? The efficiency of motion that it gives them is beneficial enough that nature/evolution saw fit to use it in spite of some serious impediments it creates, such as the near inability to move one leg independent of the other. (A pretty small limitation by the standard of most wheeled vehicles, though.)

    This site kind of explains what I'm talking about.

    KANGAROOS - Where do they come from? Why do they hop? Did they evolve from some other animal?

    Over the years, scientists have put forward theories concerning the hows and whys of kangaroo locomotion. As yet, none has fully explained every aspect.Hopping appears to be more energy-efficient than running or galloping. The faster kangaroos hop, the less energy they use for the same distance. Treadmill studies have shown that kangaroos maintain a constant number of hops per minute. Regardless of how much the treadmill speeds up, they simply take longer and longer hops.Kangaroos function much like bouncing balls. A ball will bounce a number of times without a fresh input of energy. Every time it hits the ground, some of the energy is shifted to the rubber, stored there, then recycled in an elastic bounce. Jumping kangaroos store 70% of their energy in their tendons, compared to running humans, who can store and reuse only about 20%

    For a more scientifically rigorous description you can look here:

    The basic idea is that, if you have strong enough springs in the leg mechanism, bouncing up and down costs very little real energy. Most of what you lose hurling the vehicle into the air, you get back when it lands and recompresses the springs for you. The path of a hopping object in flight is highly predictable to a computer because wind and gravity are the only forces acting on it, and those are reasonably easy to model, so probably it would not interfere with an automated gun's ability to hit. I don't know if a human gunner could be trained to account for it or not. If one's opponent had similar automated aiming assistance they'd have no trouble hitting you right back, but if you're up against a human opponent? They might have trouble.

    You also have the added advantage of shooting downward from an elevated position, and the fact you're frequently returning to the ground should make it difficult for surface to air missiles to hit you. It's like a helicopter, only better.

    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator
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    Apr 2007
    Washington State
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    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Very interesting I have been fascinated by non-wheeled vehicles for a long time now, especial military. are you working on a design? because I have no clue how a machine like this would operate, move, ect..
    I am guessing it will be like a kangaroo? this is fun I think ima build a consept
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