Usually, people don’t think of military robots as adorable. Those people haven’t seen the little, laptop-sized Sand Flea spring upwards into the sky and land like nothing’s happened.
Soon to be deployed to Afghanistan, this joint project of Boston Dynamics (maker of BigDog) and Sandia National Labs can launch itself 24 feet into the air with the help of pistons attached to canisters of carbon dioxide. The robot can actually balance itself in midair so that if it’s launched over a wall or through a second-story window, it can land on its feet and immediately start moving again, providing video for waiting soldiers with its mounted camera.
According to the Army Times, the military will test two of the robots this winter, with more to follow if soldiers like them.