If you think that you might be safe from a robot uprising just because you live on the second floor, think again. A team of scientists have developed a reconnaissance robot that can jump 30 feet in the air and is precise enough to leap through a window two stories up.
Developed by Boston Dynamics, an engineering firm based in Waltham, Mass., with funding from the Army's Rapid Equipping Force, the Sand Flea weighs 11 pounds and looks like a stripped-down RC car. Before jumping, the Sand Flea stops, rears back, and then fires a piston that launches it into the air.
The piston is powered by a CO2 charge. The Sand Flea can jump 25 times before the charge needs to be replaced.
The Sand Flea is an updated version of the Precision Urban Hopper, which was developed by Sandia National Laboratories. The Sand Flea improves upon its predecessor with a gyroscopic stabilization system that keeps it oriented as it jumps, making for improved video in midflight.
The Sand Flea has been sent to Army Test and Evaluation Command for evaluation. CNET reports that, if it passes, the Army will ship nine of them to Afghanistan, where they will join the roughly 2,000 other robots currently deployed there.