Boston Dynamics, the MIT spinoff now famous for its quadruped robots, is working on a new urban-surveillance robot that is capable of launching itself more than 25 feet in the air.
The Precision Urban Hopper is semi-autonomous and about the size of a shoe box. It typically relies on four wheels to get around, but a piston-actuated leg that has been likened to an explosive pogo stick allows it to hop over obstacles 40-60 times its own height.
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico originally designed the hopper, which is being funded through the military’s research wing, DARPA. Waltham-based Boston Dynamics was recently awarded the contract for producing the next generation of robots. Delivery is planned for late 2010.
Watch a video of the Precision Urban Hopper: