Sand Flea robot jumps like its namesake
One of the fantastic facts that you would have come across while growing up would be this – a flea is capable of jumping up many times its own height, and is the Olympic champion in the animal world when it comes to high jump events. And if one were to take a closer look at the technological achievements that humanity have gone through over the years, many of them were inspired by nature and the study of it. Flight, for example, is the dream of man taking to the skies like our feathered friends, although I am quite sure the Wright brothers were not angry when they first achieved the feat.
Robots have certainly come a long way since their inception, although there is still a whole lot of work to be done when it comes to making sure such robots will be able to function alongside humans just like they do in science fiction movies. With the Sand Flea robot, that has certainly taken a right step forward, where it is capable of clearing obstacles simply be jumping over it. Let us take a closer look at the Sand Flea robot right after the jump.
Boston Dynamics is the company behind the Sand Flea robot, where it will feature an updated jumping mechanism after taking over the efforts of Sandia National Laboratories’ Precision Urban Hopper Robot. The Sand Flea is able to come to a complete stop and rear itself up prior to launch, as the CO2-powered piston will fire from the rear. Apart from that, the robot also boasts of a gyroscopic stabilization system which will be able to deliver a more controlled landing while keeping it oriented in flight, so that it can also fulfill its other purpose of capturing and relaying usable video while it is in midair.
The Sand Flea is fully capable of clearing heights of up to 30 feet (9 meters), and can also jump up to 25 times before it requires a trip to the refueling station. Needless to say, the military definitely has an interest in the Sand Flea robot, hence funding its development via DARPA, the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and the Rapid Equipping Force. The whole idea of the Sand Flea is to provide generals with increased situational awareness in combat situations. Perhaps search and rescue operations would also come under its purview in more peaceful times.