Mobile robots face great challenges in terms of mobility when traversing rough terrain, especially obstacle filled environments. Current terrestrial locomotion mechanisms such as wheels, tracks, and legs, face difficulties surmounting obstacles equal to or greater than their own height. This is especially true for smaller robots. In this respect, bioinspired approaches offer some solutions. Some insects in particular tackle rough terrain locomotion by performing high powered jumps. Their morphology has evolved to create specialized energy storage structures, and their hind legs have adapted to provide improved mechanical leverage. This paper investigates jumping as employed by insects and develops principles pertinent for the design of a jumping robotic system. A mathematical model depicting bipedal jumping is presented. The model includes mechanical energy storage elements in the form of springs for the purpose of assessing jumping locomotion for robotic applications. This model will assist in analyzing jumping locomotion and presenting some insights, as well as rough dimensioning of system parameters to achieve desired jumping performance.

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