Robot can hop over 25-foot fences


Sandia National Labs and Boston Dynamics made this cute little jumping robot.

An overall goal of the robots is to decrease the number of casu alties in combat. To that end, the hopping robots will provide enhanced situational awareness for shaping the outcome of the immediate local combat situation, Salton said. Their compact, lightweight design makes them portable, and their semiautonomous capability greatly reduces the workload burden of the operator.

In addition to providing military assistance, the hopping capabilities of the robots could be used in law enforcement, homeland security, search and rescue applications in challenging terrain and in planetary exploration, [Jon Salton, Sandia program manager] said.

Sandia hopping robots to bolster troop capabilities


  1. I’m almost 100% sure that there was a RC toy car that did this, back in the late 80s. Not 25′, but the same concept, same tires-bigger-than-body build.

    Hmm. I wonder if I could do something with legwarmers or Wayfarers and get some sweet defense cash…

  2. “Decrease the number of friendly casualties. Let’s not delude ourselves.”

    Yes, shocking that an army would attempt to limit its own casualties… :/

  3. @10

    if that was what they’d said, of course it would not have been shocking. but that’s not what they said.

    It is claimed that hiroshima/nagasaki saved lives, in that we didn’t have to island hop. but in another sense…

    a humanist does not judge the value of a life by nationality.

  4. Querent,

    The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed or injured 199,000 people.

    The Navy Department estimated casualties for the invasion of Japan by U.S. and allied forces were between 1.7 and 4 million Allied casualties and 10 million Japanese casualties

    I agree, a humanist does not judge the value of life by nationality, and the bombings were still horrible. The predicted outcomes of the alternatives were much worse.

  5. And I suppose it might, in theory, and if you spent long enough thinking about the design issues, even be possible to fix a bomb to it.

  6. OOOooaaaaaah. That was never a *25*-foot fence.

    #12: Way to pick your statistics to justify that ultimate barbaric act. As a US Admiral put it at the time.

  7. The article implies remote video capacities as an add-on accessory. There are already smaller RC prototypes that do this, some even fly.

    The only application I can see it used for is things a twelve year old would come up with. Spy on your friends, crush object, neighbors etc.

    We don’t need small remote control vehicles to deliver ordinance. That is more than capably handled by much more dependable and sometimes even inexpensive tech.

  8. Are you serious? An undergrad engineer could’ve built one of these in a weekend and it’s gonna take Sandia 1.5 years?

  9. I don’t know, this is kind of cool. Sure it’s simple in concept, but to implement; that is the challenge. It is elegantly done.

  10. @ 19, a bomb? I could even picture some evildoer trying to attach a gun and rigging it to be controlled remotely as well. Technology can always be used for evil, of course.

  11. It’s just Sandia playing pranks on their neighbors at Kirkland AFB. “Ha Ha! Saw your secrets!” They are literally right next door to each other and not even a fence between them.

    I wonder if KUMSC uses land mines like Manzano (a couple miles east of KUMSC) used to. See the light stripe? Do Not Walk There! At least that was the rumor.

  12. My ignorance of robotic tech being somewhat less than for many other things…

    I’m not exactly impressed. It appears to be a mildly scaled up toy. The amusing part is my first impression was “Hmmm someone put wheels on an old cassette player.”.

    The only way that is a 25 foot fence is if 16 foot of it is underground. If you watch the background you can see a person walking alongside the fence to give a good idea of scale.

  13. Scuba SM,

    “Navy Department estimated casualties…”
    Perfect example of a straw man. Their military was virtually defeated and a quickly waning threat. No need to island hop and invade.

    And aren’t you the slightest bit skeptical, given that the the million-plus estimates are coming from the same military that dropped the bombs? You don’t suppose they’d slant the logic to justify their barbarism, ex post facto? C’mon, you wouldn’t buy that from any other country.

Comments are closed.