This is definitely not the first 3D-printed robot, but it’s among the first ones manufactured in this manner whose design is inspired from the living world.
A while ago I wrote about a 3D-printed transforming robot that could be wirelessly controlled, much like our 3D-printed spider robot here. I’m not sure yet if this is a trend, but it might become one if more 3D-printed RC robots are unveiled in the near future. What’s amazing about the T8 octopod robot is that it employs 26 servo motors to use. All of these are controlled via the Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine. The great number of motors and the accuracy of the software all lead to a very fluid movement. Apart from the bright LED that shines from its front, there’s nothing that makes this look like a robot, especially if it’s stationary.
Besides the servo motors, most of the other components were 3D-printed at a very high resolution. This is yet another one of the aspects that set the T8 spider robot apart from its mechanized counterparts. However, 3D-printing is becoming very popular, so there should be a lot of robotic insects and arachnids in our lives in the near future. A very important thing is not to panic. Maybe these will eventually help people suffering from related phobias to live a normal life.
Here is what the developers of the T8 octopod robot had to say about their product: “The Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine handles all the complex math calculations necessary for controlling multi-legged walking robots. All computations are safely hidden from the user in the form of a black box. This means that the user only has to send short and simple commands to the robot (for example, instructing it to walk forward at a desired speed) and the engine will automatically take care of all the details, including inverse kinematics, leg trajectory planning, leg gait coordination, motor control, etc. This makes it quite easy even for absolute beginners to play with advanced robotics.”
A Robugtix Controller and a wireless XBee module are required for controlling the spiderbot wirelessly. T8 is currently available on the Robugtix website for $1,350, but to get the other accessories people will have to pay some extra. For a toy, the price may seem a bit steep, but considering the components used in its manufacturing and the number of servo motors, I think the price is just right.