What you see above is not a shot of some sort of alien life form that NASA scientists have managed to capture and cultivate over the years, but rather, it is a three-legged robot that will rely on its “exploding” body in order to perform something most of us take for granted – jump. It would not be too far off the mark to say that this is inspired by facehuggers of the Alien franchise. This rubbery robot would be able to “walk” as one pumps air through it, but if you want it to jump, just set off explosions inside its body.
The brainchild of a certain George Whitesides from Harvard University alongside that of his colleagues, this three-legged robot will come lined with tubes that are filled with a mixture of methane and oxygen. An electrical spark is all it takes to ignite the gases, where the combustion reaction would generate bursts of pressure which helps propel the robot aloft. In fact, they might as well call this the Flea, as it can jump more than 30 times its height with all three legs activated simultaneously.