Jumping robots may soon find role in military service

Published: Sunday, May 10, 2009, 14:26 [IST]

London, May 10 (ANI): Robots that can leap 8 metres vertically to clear walls or fences may soon find themselves in the military.

Sandia National Laboratories' prototype Urban Hopper can really do wonders just by hopping.

Now robot maker Boston Dynamics has landed the job of producing a military version with a dash of more self-control.

US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is funding the programme, says it wants the hopper for urban reconnaissance and intelligence gathering - although it admits it could also be fitted with a raft of weapons, reports New Scientist.

Sandia's shoebox-sized prototype, which is driven by an electric motor, rolls along on wheels. It jumps using a gas piston which is powered by methylacetylene and nitrous oxide.

However, its leaps so far are pretty haphazard.

"The existing hoppers do not maintain a stable orientation during hops, but tumble randomly," says DARPA spokesman Mark Peterson. (ANI)

 

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