If you think you've seen all possible forms of robotic locomotion, think again.
We've seen wheel, tracked, and two- and four-legged walking robots. Now comes Boston Dynamics' diminutive Sand Flea that can jump over walls.
The robot rears up on twin "legs" and CO2-driven piston kicks it up to heights of 30 ft (9 m). Gyros orient the flying flea for taking video and having a stable landing. A single gas charge is good for up to 25 leaps.
While all this robotic jumping about is cool, let's not get carried away just yet. I remember going to a technical society meeting where one of the top robot companies was demonstrating one of its tracked models. The session took place in an older college auditorium, so that after scurrying about the floor, the engineer controlling the robot directed it to climb wooden stairs at the front of the hall onto the stage—but the machine just spun its tracks as the steps provided too little friction for climbing.
I suppose if the machine could have built up some momentum with a long enough run, it could have made it up the steps.
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