This little guy just showed up on UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab YouTube channel. It's called STAR, for Sprawl-Tuned Autonomous Robot, a six legged skittery thing just 12 cm in size that can adapt its limbs and its gait to zip over and under obstacles.
More info on STAR is scheduled to be presented at ICRA 2013 in Germany in May. We'll be there, of course, but until then, what we know about this robot is limited to what's in the YouTube video description:
The robot can achieve legged performance over rough surfaces and obstacles, using a high sprawl angle, and nearly wheel-like performance over smooth surfaces for small sprawl angles. By changing the sprawl angle it can climb over obstacle or crawl underneath them.
STAR can run at 5.2m/s (43 body lengths/second, Froude number 9.8) over a smooth surface which makes it the fastest untethered crawling robot.
STAR was developed at the Biomimetic Millisystem Lab, UC Berkeley, by David Zarrouk, Andrew Pullin, Nick Kohut and Ronald Fearing.
Again, we'll have more on this thing when we head to Germany at the beginning of May, if not before.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.