Sand Flea: Military Robot Launches Over 30-Foot Building, Keeps Driving

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The Sand Flea, created by Boston Dynamics, can jump 30 feet into the air.

Remember that creepy-looking four-legged robot with impeccable balancing skills that made its way around the blogosphere in several viral videos over the past few years?

The company behind that massive four-legged robotic creature, Boston Dynamics, has reached a step further into the future of robotics: a tiny, high-leaping remote-controlled vehicle named Sand Flea.

The latest robot from Boston Dynamics is basically an extremely durable remote control car that can launch itself above barriers and continue driving after it has crashed to the ground.

Sand Flea is an 11-lb robot with one trick up its sleeve: Normally it drives like an RC car, but when it needs to it can jump 30 feet into the air, says the description of the video. An onboard stabilization system keeps it oriented during flight to improve the view from the video uplink and to control landings. Current development of Sand Flea is funded by the the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force.

Sand Flea is intended for use by U.S. forces in Afghanistan according to The Verge. Its ability to jump walls, provide reconnaissance and leap back into ally territory makes it a powerful tool for judging the safety of a walled-off area.

Boston Dynamics has created several robots, all viewable on the company's website. The company hopes its robots will help provide assistance to military units across the world. It describes itself as an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation.

The company began as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where National Academy of Engineering member Marc Raibert and his colleagues first developed robots that ran and maneuvered like animals, according to the Boston Dynamics website. They founded the company in 1992, and their ground-breaking work continues to inspire several of the company's activities.

For a full look at Sand Flea, check out the video below:

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