Quadcopters are OK, but if you want to stand out, you need to own a hexapod hexacopter that can walk and fly equally fine. That’s the lesson Mad Lab Industries is trying to teach all of us.
As if it’s not enough for arachnophobics that spiders crawl in mysterious ways. Now they also need to come in the form of a robot that besides resembling a spider terribly much, it is also capable of flying. Technically, this is not based on a spider model, since arachnids have eight legs and Mad Lab Industries‘ creation, being a hexapod, has only six. However, it could still trigger some pretty serious nightmares.
According to the developers of the robot, the hexapod part is based on the PhantomX AX Hexapod Comprehensive Kit. The frame and the legs had to be replaced, as the original parts were far too heavy. Instead, the developers went for carbon fiber legs and frame. It is a known fact that carbon fiber excels in both sturdiness and lightness, so the fact that Mad Lab Industries opted for such a material should not surprise anyone, especially since reducing the total weight was among one of their main goals.
As far as the hexacopter part goes, it also includes carbon fiber, especially where the motors are mounted. Aluminum, another lightweight metal, was used for making the booms and mounts. It should be noted that these two particular parts were custom made, to accommodate the rest of the robotic insect. Besides six E-Flite motors and propellers, the team also employed ESCs (electronic speed controls) for this part. The latter play a very important role, as they help the hexapod hexacopter to lift off.
People who have heard of quadcopters or the like at all, are probably familiar with models that are controlled via iPhone, iPad or other iOS running products. Controlling the hexapod hexacopter is not that easy, though. In the above video, the robot is seen both walking and flying, but each of these required a different type of controller. For example, two Arbotix devices control the six legs of the robot, a Hoverfly flight controller helps it fly and a Spektrum controller is used for remote commands. Given the high number of devices required for simply controlling this beast, don’t expect to see it in a toy store near you anytime soon.