As any Transformers fan knows, not all robots have to be bringers of death, destruction and the eventual extinction of the human race. Some are built not for maiming, but for good, or in the case of Autobot-in-training MorpHex, winning.
MorpHex is a “hexapod,” or six-legged robot, designed by Norwegian hobbyist Kåre Halvorsen, who has entered his creation into the Boca Bearings 2012 Innovation Competition.
At first, MorpHex appears to be just another walking robot with an unusual body design, but as you’ll see in the video below, it can also transform from six-legged robot to rolling sphere and back again.
Whether it’s walking around on its legs or using its body panels to power it along, the ‘bot’s movements look fluid, controlled and surprisingly natural.
On his competition entry page, Halvorsen says he has been working on the project since 2010, and that it’s more “a work of art” than anything else. He says MorpHex is one of the first remote controlled robots to have both a walking and a spherical mode together.
The next stage of the project will see MorpHex become completely round, as it’s asymmetric at the moment, so it will be able to roll in a straight line. We’d love to see an eye-like video camera on an extending pole for walking mode, which then retracts for sphere-mode to give MorpHex even more personality too.
If you need proof that MorpHex is an Autobot and not a Decepticon, then check out the end of the video, as a young carbon-based unit trying to find the off-switch is left unharmed.