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Jumping Sand Flea robot reaches new heights in latest video


March 28, 2012

The Sand Flea robot can leap to heights of 30 ft (9 m) thanks to a CO2-powered piston visible on the rear

The Sand Flea robot can leap to heights of 30 ft (9 m) thanks to a CO2-powered piston visible on the rear

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When we first spied Sandia National Laboratories' Precision Urban Hopper Robot back in 2009 it employed combustion-driven pistons to propel it into the air and allow it to clear obstacles. In the same year Sandia handed development of the jumping robot over to Boston Dynamics, the company behind robots including PETMAN, BigDog and CHEETAH. Now known as Sand Flea, Boston Dynamics has released new video of the robot showcasing an updated jumping mechanism.

While the earlier video showed the robot jumping while in motion thanks to piston on its underside, the latest video shows Sand Flea coming to a stop and rearing up before launch. This is because the CO2-powered piston now fires from the rear. The robot also features a gyroscopic stabilization system that helps deliver a more controlled landing and keeps it oriented in flight to capture and relay usable video while in midair.

The Sand Flea can clear heights of 30 ft (9 m) and can jump up to 25 times before refueling is required. The robot’s development was funded by DARPA, the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and the Rapid Equipping Force, with the goal of providing increased situational awareness in combat situations. However, its creators say it also has potential for law enforcement, search and rescue, and planetary exploration applications.

Here’s the latest video of the Sand Flea in action:

Source: IEEE Spectrum

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick


Max Kennedy

thats kick butt!!!

Leonard Foster

I love that. Now build it into my car and I'm getting out of traffic.

Chris Strange

Cool trick!

Robert Guimont

can i get one mom please please please


Think about a swarm of these carrying anti-personnel or tank-busting mines.

John Hagen-Brenner
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