Though it may look like a spider, the legs of this hexapod are actually made from the same technology that allows for sidewinding robotic snakes. The result is a rather creepy, but surprisingly strong and resilient, "snake monster."
This DARPA-funded hexapod was developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon's Biorobotics Lab, the same team that developed those eerie snake-like sidewinding robots:
The researchers leveraged the same actuator-joint concept and attached the snake-like robotic limbs to a central hub. Voila, instant spider-bot:
The researchers describe their autonomous walking "Snake Monster" thusly: "The series-elastic actuators in each joint allow simultaneous position-velocity-torque control, enabling compliant motions using a simple alternating-tripod walking gait." Make of that what you will.
The resulting hexapod — with its snakey appendages — is remarkably tough and resilient. It can put up with all sorts of abuse as it gets shoved, squished, and even kicked. It's also extremely agile, capable of climbing over obstacles with relative ease.
[ C|Net ]