Xpider is the world's smallest (and cutest) programmable robotic spider

When you think of a robotic spider, you probably don’t think cute and cuddly. Instead, your mind conjures up images of six-legged creepy-crawlies that swarm you as you sleep. Thankfully, the spider bot creators at Roboeve spent more time watching cartoons instead of science fiction when they created Xpider, the world’s smallest programmable robotic spider.

Inspired by the adorable cyclops character of Mike from Monsters Inc., the Xpider is a small, boxy robot that looks more like R2-D2 instead of the replicators of Stargate. The diminutive quadruped is palm-sized, measuring only 85mm tall and weighing only 150 grams. It has a camera for its single eye, allowing it to both see and respond to items in its environment. This camera also can send a video feed to a companion tablet or smartphone, providing a first-person view that lets the operator see what the robot sees.

Programmed using SmartNode software and powered by the Intel Edison and Intel Curie system on a chip, the Xpider is more than just a remote controlled robotic toy. The robot can see objects in it environment, deftly navigating around obstacles that might impede its movements. Xpider also supports facial recognition, identifying people’s faces, and responding accordingly. When placed on a desk, the Xpider dances when its operator approaches and sends out an alert when a stranger comes near.

The original Xpider took 8 months to develop and underwent several iterations before the team came up with the current design. It is a work in process with robot still in the early stages of development. The team is working to refine the design, transitioning the boxy “Xpider Fatty” robot to a more sphere-like design. The team hopes to generate funding for the production of this new Xpider in an upcoming Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that’ll bring the adorable, little robot to the public. While you wait for the campaign to begin, you can check out the open source version of the Xpider on Instructables.

Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Movies & TV

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' is one of the hero's best movies ever

One of Spider-Man's most memorable big-screen adventures, animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse simultaneously feels like nothing we've ever seen before and a tale that feels familiar in all the best ways.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.