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Image via WIRED video

Roboticists at the University of California created a one-legged robot that "can out-jump LeBron [James]," Wired reports. Salto, the tiny robot, can jump four times its size thanks to technology that mimics bushbaby animals, which are only 7 to 8 inches but can jump over 7 feet high.

"The basic idea is that these jumping animals are just better at crouching," Duncan Haldane, the roboticist behind Salto, told Wired. "They have a better crouched posture, which lets their muscles store a lot of energy in their tendons and then release it later to power really, really high jumps." Haldane eventually wants to use it for search-and-rescue efforts.

One fun thing: Although it mimics a bushbaby, Salto only has one leg because Haldane "wanted to see how far you could push a robot with one leg." As Wired notes: "Evolution methodically shaped the bushbaby over millions of years, but that doesn't mean you have to design a perfect mimic to harness the animal's powers."

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.

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