For my Design Nature class in the fall of 2010, I built a device inspired by several hopping insects with the goal of jumping as high as possible using less that 3 joules of stored energy.
My design process started by observing jumping insects and figuring out how they jump.
I thought of many ways I could get a machine to jump and sketched out six of them.
From those six, I chose two to make foam sketch models of. My model did jump, but not very high.
I put the model into CAD and did a motion simulation which estimated that it would jump well over a meter high.
Here are the parts laid out to be cut out of Delrin on the laser.
The “loaded” position has the feet up and a trigger is released by the slow-expanding foam.
When the trigger is released, the feet rotate down and push the body up into the air.