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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

3D-printed robot tarantula not for arachnophobes

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Robugtix)

Hexapods have nothing on this creepy-crawly robotic spider inspired by the real thing.

While we'd chew our right arms off for a hexapod tank (not a scenario we're likely to encounter, ever), an octopod tank would be, like, roughly 40 times more exciting. And although we've never seen one outside of fiction, Robugtix has something nearly as good.

The T8 octopod robot from Robugtix is modelled after a real tarantula, and the way it moves is startlingly realistic — an effect that is amplified by its high-resolution 3D-printed shell, which conceals the robotics inside.

Each T8 moves with the help of 26 Hitec HS-35HD servo motors — three in each leg and two to move the body — and is pre-programmed using Robugtix's Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics to give the robot realistic movement. This includes inverse kinematics, trajectory planning, gait and motor control. All the operator has to do is press buttons on the controller, which communicates with the robot via XBee.

More advanced users, of course, can try programming their own sequences into the robot.

The T8 is only available for pre-order at the moment for an early bird price of US$1350, shipping 30 September. The price reverts to US$1500 on 1 September. Either way, buyers still have to purchase additional pieces. The controller on its own costs US$35, while the controller with two XBee modules is US$85. Nor are batteries included — the robot requires a 4.8V NiMH rechargeable battery pack to run.

It's an impressively spooky little critter, though. Check it out in the video below.


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