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This tarantula-inspired hexapod robot was built in its inventor's garage

MX-Phoenix hexapod robot outdoor part II
“It’s a terrifying robot tarantula, run for your liiiii — oh, it’s slow. Maybe just walk for your life, then!”

The MX-Phoenix isn’t really that scary at all. It’s a six-legged, spider-inspired robot — yes, we know that spiders have eight legs — that uses 18 different motors to crawl over uneven ground.

Unlike most of the impressive robotics projects we see, MX-Phoenix didn’t spring from a top-flight university or Google-owned research lab, but rather from the garage of Norwegian amateur robot maker Kåre Halvorsen, aka Zenta.

An engineer at the Assistive Technology Centre for Rogaland in Bergen, Norway, Halvorsen’s robotics career is relegated to evenings and weekends.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

“MX-Phoenix is a six-legged hexapod walking machine with three motors on each leg,” Halvorsen told Digital Trends abouthis latest creation. “Almost all parts are 3D printed in ABS plastic. It’s remotely operated using a custom-made remote controller. Unlike most of the hexapod robots, MX-Phoenix is able to walk on rough terrain, not just flat and level floor. All 18 motors are controlled using advanced control algorithms that are computed inside an onboard microcontroller.”

The robot has been in development since last November, but only took its first (surprisingly fluid) steps recently. The advantage of a hexapod robot is that it is more stable than two or four legged robots, and can keep moving even if a leg is disabled.

“My main goal is to have fun, and keep learning and developing new robots,” Halvorsen said. He added that a few potential uses for this particular bot could include “search and rescue” missions, or as some kind of animatronics tool for movies.

“My future plan is to work more on the gait algorithm and do some minor modifications,” he said.

There’s no word yet on whether he plans to market and sell this particular creation any time soon, but it’s certainly something we’d love to have crawling around our apartment.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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