It doesn’t look like much, kind of a simple RC car. That is, until it jumps.
Boston Dynamics just released a video of their Sand Flea robot, and man can it jump. It rolls around, then stops, rears back on its hind wheels, and springs over walls and onto roofs – up to 30 feet high! It’s jumping is accurate enough that it can even leap into a second story window. You wanna scare the neighbors?
A CO2-powered piston gives the 11 pound Sand Flea its jumping power. Boston Dynamics hopes the little jumper will improve surveillance capabilities of soldiers on the battlefield. You’ll notice in the video below that the Sand Flea does a pretty good job landing flat on its four wheels. That’s not only for stability control, but to get the best possible video feed from an onboard camera. It won’t provide useful surveillance if its spinning end over end. A gyro stabilizer helps it to keep level during flight.
If you’ve seen Alpha Dog, you know that Boston Dynamics is good at building some sturdy robots. Sand Flea can perform about 25 jumps per charging. At 30 feet a leap, that’s a lot of abuse, but it’s going to need to be sturdy on the battlefield. Funded in part by the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, nine Sand Fleas are destined for testing in Afghanistan.
Whether on land or in the air, robots continue to increase their numbers on the battlefield. With their load-bearing Alpha Dog and chemical suit-testing Petman, Boston Dynamics is certainly doing their part. The robotization of warfare is sure to continue, whether it be a steady march upward, or by leaps and bounds.