The sand flea is one of the natural world’s most astounding jumpers, capable of leaping huge distances in a single bound. Inspired this amazing insect, Boston Dynamics has created an 11 pound robot that can jump 30 feet into the air to overcome obstacles. That’s high enough to jump over a compound wall, into a second story window, or onto the roof of a house – hit the jump to see a video of it in action!
The robot works by using CO2-driven pistons to rear the robot up onto its hind legs. The pistons then kick the robot high into the air to a maximum height of 30 feet. The gyros then angle the robot so that it lands securely so that it can continue on its way. The robot also uses gyro stabilization to stay level during flight, so that the operator has a clear view from the onboard camera. The Sand Flea robot is able to jump about 25 times using a single gas canister.
Boston Dynamics is developing the Sand Flea with funding from the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). Earlier versions of the Sand Flea were developed by Sandia National Laboratory with funding from DARPA and JIEDDO. It is hoped that the Sand Flea will provide battlefield commanders with increased situational awareness in combat situations while enabling search and rescue operations during peaceful times. Other such robots funded by the military and created by DARPA and Boston Dynamics include the Cheetah Robot