Advances in robotics are helping professionals in different fields to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively. For instance, doctors can use robotic cameras to get a look inside a patient’s body so that surgery becomes more precise.
The use of robots also helps reduce risk for professionals like policemen or firemen or those who fight terror or drugs.
Sandia National laboratories in the US had begun work on developing what they called a “Precision Urban Hopper Robot”. The idea was to create a robot that could reach potentially dangerous locations and send live video feeds.
In 2009, the Urban Hopper used combustion-driven pistons to propel itself into the air and thus clear obstacles like walls. Over the last couple of years, Boston Dynamics, a private sector company, took over the project.
It has now developed the Sand Flea robot, which uses CO2 fired pistons to propel itself into the air so that it can scale walls or reach terrain at heights quite easily. This new jumping mechanism allows the Sand Flea robot to clear heights of up to 9 metres.
The Sand Flea robot also has a gyroscopic stabilisation system which ensures that in-flight orientation and landing is better-controlled so that less time is wasted on “recovering”. After all, in the middle of a drug bust or counter-terror operation, even a couple of seconds may make all the difference between life and death.
Even when the Sand Flea robot is air-borne, it can send video feeds. Once fuelled up, the Sand Flea robot is good for up to 25 jumps. Of course, this number will drop if every jump requires it to clear 8 or 9 metres.