Spider-bot rolls into action
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.