Japanese carmaker Toyota announced on Wednesday a one-metre leg with a joint on its toe, enabling it to jump up to four centimetres high. It does this by bending and stretching its toe and another knee-like joint.

 

"This is a basic technology that can be applied to a two-legged robot in future," said a Toyota Motor Corporation spokeswoman.

 

"It was a difficult step for robots," she said. "But it was made possible after making a number of prototypes."

 

Besides leaping into the air, the robots will also be able to run faster. They can also handle unpaved roads more smoothly, the company said.

 

Toyota, the world's number two carmaker which is soon expected to surpass General Motors, has embraced robotics.

 

Their humanoids welcomed visitors to a company pavillion at the 2005 World Expo in Japan, playing in a brass ensemble and dancing to hip-hop routines.