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Robotic “Sand Flea” Leaps into Action Besides U.S Armed Forces

Meet the Sand Flea. It’s a rolling robot that weighs in at 11lbs (just under 5 kilos) and races along at 4.4 miles per hour on four all-terrain tyres. Seems pretty standard for a high tech toy, right? Think again!

This heavy-duty remote controlled droid developed by Boston Dynamics is truly more than meets the eye – based on the real life insect and designed for use by the U.S Army, the Sand Flea has appeared in a new video demonstration which shows it leaping up to 30-feet in a forward direction. Tackling high ascents with ease and even launching itself onto the roof of a building and descending back down again with a bound utilising a stabilisation system which keeps the droid on target, The ‘bot bounces back thanks to its robust design and continues to roll on to complete its task – in practical application that may be reaching a high plateau or surveying a dangerous terrain which we as humans cannot reach.

Nine of the Sand Flea robots are on their way to the Afghanistan to be put through their paces alongside the troops of the U.S armed forces and the project is receiving funding to help them aid the on-going efforts in the Middle East.

The Sand Flea follows a number of other truly impressive robotic projects by Boston Dynamics and the company has previously showcased its efforts on ideas such as “Petman” – a pair of bionic legs for paraplegics, and the somewhat disturbing “Big Dog” – a set of four limbs resembling that of a dog (or horse, in our opinion) and attached to a haunting headless metal chassis, which can walk or run and react to a number of surfaces and terrains as well as recovering from a stagger or being kicked over!


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