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We present a simple two degree of freedom robot that uses a gravity-driven pendulum launch and produces a variety of somersaulting stunts.

Human performers have developed impressive acrobatic techniques over thousands of years of practicing the gymnastic arts. At the same time, robots have started to become more mobile and autonomous and can begin to imitate these stunts in dramatic and informative ways. We present a simple two degree of freedom robot that uses a gravity-driven pendulum launch and produces a variety of somersaulting stunts. The robot uses an IMU and a laser range-finder to estimate its state mid-flight and actuates to change its motion both on and off the pendulum. We discuss the dynamics of this behavior in a framework of acrobatic capability and present experimental results.”

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