At first sight, Sand Flea, the incredible jumping robot created by the Massachusetts-based engineering company Boston Dynamics, looks like a simple remote control car driving around in a parking lot. Its hidden capabilities, however, are sure to amaze you.
Commissioned by U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, Sand Flea was designed to serve as a military reconnaissance robot. Sand Flea’s built-in surveillance camera can document its surroundings with minimal visual obstruction, as it can easily bound over objects up to 30 feet tall. Additionally, its oversized wheels allow it to travel on virtually any terrain it encounters–including the air:
The inspiration for the robot, the pesky yet vertically impressive sand flea, is capable of jumping from its toes 150 times its own length using stored energy rather than muscle power. The Sand Flea robot imitates its jumping skills by using a carbon dioxide powered piston as its energy source for jumping from its grooved wheels, rather than using joint-like apparati. While the robotic Sand Flea can only jump roughly 30 times its own length, a laughable distance compared to its namesake, its immense projectile leaps have yet to be surpassed by any mechanical device.