Dancing Multi-Legged Robot Morphs Into a Ball
Multi-legged robots are not something new, but a spherical robot that turns its lower half into six legs certainly has a degree of innovation.
The combination between the spherical body and the six legs make the MorpHex robot, as its creator called it, adequate for all types of terrains. On flat surfaces it could easily roll, even though this function has not been yet implemented by Kåre Halvorsen, the Norwegian engineer who designed and built this awesome robot. On uneven terrain, the robot would make use of its legs to move. The name of the robot is quite intuitive as it gives an idea about what lies behind it by making references to the morphing ability and to the six legs.
In the case of the previous multi-legged robots, the number of servo motors usually equalled the number of legs. However, MorpHex features 25 servo motors that move the legs and the body. The same servo motors will also be used for rolling, and it is only a matter of programming till the Norwegian engineer manages to do that, too. When the lower part of the body turns into legs, the upper part does not remain inert. Instead, the segments that compose it go further one from another and move up and down, giving the impression of a dance, as seen in the below video.
To me, this robot looks a bit like the turrets from Portal, even though those were not spherical and had thinner legs. The spherical shape, however, makes it more attractive and could prove more functional, if its creator ever decides to make the MorpHex robot more than just a concept. There is also some degree of resemblance to the Star Wars destroyer droids, fact that makes me wonder how the MorpHex would look like if it was weaponized. MorpHex is already awesome as it is, but the abilities to fly and swim would make it even more impressive. However, such features are not very cost-effective, so the chances of making this more than a prototype would drop considerably.