Sand Flea Robot Leaps Over One-Story Buildings in a Single Bound

[Photo: Boston Dynamics]
Boston Dynamics has brought us some frightening mobility robots that can walk and run. But now they are showing off something much more simple: a small, unassuming RC car…that can also launch itself 30 feet into the air.

The Sand Flea is another DARPA-funded robot that’s been designed as a ruggedized reconnaissance robot. The idea is that the Sand Flea will roll around rocky battlefields, recording surveillance video even while it’s jumping around.

The 11-pound Sand Flea has oversized wheels to allow it to travel through any rough terrain, but if it comes up to any big obstacles like a big rock or a low-slung building, it can just jump over it. The robot uses a small platform on its underside to prop itself up onto its rear wheels and a jumping piston located on the robot’s tail.

The jumping piston can launch the Sand Flea 10 meters (roughly 30 feet) into the air. It’s powered by pressurized carbon dioxide and the chamber is supposedly good for 25 jumps before it needs a refill.

Unlike some of Boston Dynamics’s more ambitious bipedal and quadruped locomotion projects, the Sand Flea might actually see real use soon. Now if they could only make a car jump.

[Sand Flea Jumping Robot (YouTube) via IEEE Spectrum and Geekosystem]

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