This little robot may not look like much, but its standing jump two stories high is one of the most incredible robotic feats I have ever seen. Boston Dynamics, creator of the BigDog, Petman and other awesome military robots, is sending it off for testing by the Army. Click past the jump to see video of it in action.
This bot is called Sand Flea, and it's a descendant of the Precision Urban Hopper, which as we saw back in 2009 could loft over a high fence with ease. That robot jumped while rolling forward, but the newest incarnation of Sand Flea stops, rears up and vaults 30 feet into the air. Otherwise it drives around like a remote-controlled car and can access almost any type of terrain, as you can see:
Its jumping piston is CO2-powered and it can jump 25 times on a single charge. It uses gyroscopic stabilization to stay level when it's airborne.
It's ready for testing along with a robot called RHex, which looks like a smallish version of the awesome BigDog, and is inspired by the crawling motions of a cockroach. Both robots are headed to the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) to pass safety and reliability checks. Here's RHex:
The Army's Rapid Equipping Force is planning to deliver nine Sand Fleas and four RHexes for testing in Afghanistan once they complete safety evaluations in the U.S.
Pleasantly surprised at the height that little thing can attain on its jumps! Must be a feather-weight...though I wonder what sort of punishment it can take from jumps and falls - especially onto rough/pointy terrain.
@jay if you notice the wheels they have a little honey comb like shape to them that'll act in place of shocks and because it's so light it can probably survive a terminal velocity fall.
i like the rhex there at the last part it looked so tenacious that it just hit the other side of uncanny valley.
to mars or bust!
These robots are so neat! I am putting a request right away for some upgrades. I want to jump 30 feet and climb over any obstacle. I can only imagine how much better the planet probes are going to get as we journey to other planets!
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Open your mind and see!
Cool it is about time, notice the wheels can land in any orientation, very similar to the Windsurfer I presented at the Mars Society in 2005 and included in Robert Zubrins book "On to Mars 2" see here:
By the way in one of my test's, that I wasn't filming at the time, the balloon got away from me and it pulled the windsurfer over a bridge where it landed safely on the other side.
the RHex video is hilariously cute!!! ha
This sand flea is incredible. Jumping two stories! Wish I could do that...
"A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?" - Albert Einstein
i want one