Boston Dynamics yesterday posted a video to their YouTube page showing off their "Sand Flea Jumping Robot. The robot appears to be a normal RC car except for one thing: it can pop itself 30 feet into the air to scale obstacles in its path.
The video, as seen below, shows the robot leap to the roof of a small building in a single bound. The robot has an onboard stabilization system that helps control landings and stabilize the view from its onboard video uplink.
Funding for the development of the 'Sand Flea' was provided by DARPA, JIEDDO, and the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force. It's easy to see why the military might want a robot of this sort to disarm (or arm) bombs, provide remote viewing, and perform other dangerous tasks on a battlefield.
Boston Dynamics describes itself on its website as "an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation." Basically, they are engineering the robot apocalypse. Don't believe me? They already have a human-like prototype and this running 'cheetah' robot that will run you down as you traverse the vast, grey, nano-bot ravaged wasteland of the future:
Impressed? Scared? Think they will remember to program these things with the laws of robotics? Let me know in the comments below.