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Boston Dynamics Sand Flea Robot Demonstrates Astonishing Jumping Skills

Watch a brand new video of Boston Dynamics' Sand Flea robot jumping 10 meters into the air

2 min read
Boston Dynamics Sand Flea Robot Demonstrates Astonishing Jumping Skills

Boston Dynamics Sand Flea Jumping Robot

We've been following the development of Boston Dynamics' Sand Flea jumping robot for years now, but we've never actually seen the latest version jump. Now Boston Dynamics has just posted a new video of Sand Flea in action, and this little guy is absolutely bananas.

Sand Flea has its origins in the Precision Urban Hopper, which was born of a collaboration between Sandia National Labs and Boston Dynamics back in 2009. There are some significant differences in the latest version of Sand Flea, some of which we've only just seen in this video: for example, instead of jumping while moving (like the Precision Urban Hopper did), Sand Flea stops, rears back, and launches itself into the air:

Sand Flea has no trouble clearing a 10-meter obstacle (about 30 feet), and it's accurate enough that you can ask it to jump through a window two stories up and it'll do it. The piston (which looks as if it fires out the back of the robot, as opposed to downwards) is powered by CO2, and Sand Flea can make 25 jumps in a row before it needs to juice itself up again. Sand Flea is intended to be used in Afghanistan to hop over walls, take a look around, and hop right back home again.

The tricky bit to all this (besides, you know, the actual jumping thing) is keeping Sand Flea oriented as steadily as possible during the jump. The idea is that the robot will be able to send back useful video while in midair, which a haphazard aerial tumble would preclude. And it looks like it does a halfway decent job, for sure, but you know what this robot needs? A tail. Seriously. Give it a tail.

[ Boston Dynamics ]

The Conversation (1)
kate panty22 Sep, 2021

Ok about How much does this cost

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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