Spi­der-bot rolls into ac­tion

The Week - Junior - - Science And Technology -

Acreepy spi­der robot has been un­veiled – and it wouldn’t look out of place in a sci­encefic­tion film. The spooky spi­der-ma­chine, known as Bion­icWheelBot, looks sim­i­lar to Droidekas,

the de­stroyer ro­bots that fea­ture in Star Wars:

Episode 1 – The Phan­tom Men­ace.

Cre­ated by a Ger­man robotics com­pany called Festo, the Bion­icWheelBot was in­spired by the flic-flac spi­der, pic­tured above right, which does hand­springs and tum­bles to es­cape dan­ger. It was dis­cov­ered in the Sa­hara Desert in 2008 by bion­ics pro­fes­sor Ingo Rechen­berg. He worked with Festo to per­fect a robot de­sign based on the ac­ro­batic spi­der.

Bion­icWheelBot has eight legs. It uses six of them to walk, but can tuck them away and use its ex­tra two legs to roll for­ward. Festo be­lieves that this in­ge­nious de­sign will al­low the robot to han­dle all sorts of rough ter­rain.

The spi­der-bot isn’t the only an­i­mal-in­spired ma­chine that the tech com­pany is work­ing on. Festo has also cre­ated Bion­icF­ly­ingFox, which has a wing­span of more than two me­tres, a ro­botic oc­to­pus ten­ta­cle called Oc­to­pusGrip­per, and Bion­icKan­ga­roo, which can jump. “More than copy­ing na­ture, we are try­ing to learn from it,” said Elias Knubben, head of cor­po­rate bionic projects at Festo. He be­lieves that ro­bots like this could explore other plan­ets or the bot­tom of the ocean in the fu­ture. Watch Bion­icWheelBot in ac­tion at tinyurl.com/TWJ-spi­der­bot


ready to roll.

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