Your nitro-fueled R/C racer may look all badass and be really fast, but it's got its limitations. Namely, walls. The Sand Flea robot shown above, developed by Boston Dynamics, won't win any races or beauty contests, but it laughs at walls. More precisely, it just leaps over them.
The little bot, which scoots around like a regular all-terrain R/C car, is equipped with a CO2-powered piston that gives it the ability to leap 30 feet in the air. When presented with a challenge, the Sand Flea stops, tilts, and launches up and over the obstacle in front of it. The video showing it in action, posted after the jump, is simultaneously astonishing and hilarious (especially when you mentally add this sound effect to each leap). On a full charge, the Flea can make 25 jumps. A gyroscope keeps it stabilized while airborne, and its wheels act as the cushion upon landing.
Funding for the project comes from DARPA, the Joint IED Defeat Organization, and the Army's Rapid Equipping Force, and it's meant to bolster the military's ever-expanding arsenal of reconnaissance tools. As such, PopSci reports that the Sand Flea is headed to the Army Test and Evaluation Command for safety certification, after which several examples will head to Afghanistan for some real field testing.