Robotic Hexapod Teaches Self To Walk

As if insects weren’t frightening enough, a European university has developed an insect-like robot that teaches itself to walk. Meet HECTOR, the autonomous hexapod.

HECTOR (which stands for HExapod Cognitive auTonmously Operating Robot), was unveiled by the University of Bielefeld earlier this week. The six-legged robot walks autonomously and actually learns as it walks, remembering certain situations so it can maneuver out of them again in the future.

The specs of this ant-like hexapod are impressive. Weighing only 26 pounds, HECTOR can carry a load over 60 pounds without much of an issue. Bielefeld’s Department of Biological Cybernetics wanted to, “raise this walking idea to a cognitive, intelligent level by bringing in ideas of planning.” That’s why the robot is being studied all over Europe. The thought of robots being able to maneuver themselves to a goal, without any human intervention, is a major step in the robotics field.

HECTOR is a collaborative work with the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. They helped out in the development and optimization of the carbon-fiber exoskeleton. Bielefeld’s Mechatronics of Biomimetric Actuators research group also assisted in production of the robot, contributing elastic joint drivers to allow for HECTOR’s six-legged movement.

Although the only clip of HECTOR’s leg moving seems pretty slow, as it learns how to walk, the AI will become more aware of its surroundings, leading to better maneuverability.


As more and more advances in robotics emerge, it is hard to put bounds on what the robotics community is capable of. Plan on more cool robotic advancements to be made in the near future.

With more looks at this robot, it begins to look like Ray Bradbury’s mechanical hound in Fahrenheit 451. If HECTOR starts showing up at house-fires, plan on running the other direction.


For more awesome robotics, check out 17 Robots with Rhythm: Singing and Dancing Robots, Humanoid Robots Can Play Kinect and 12 Awesome Beer Robots.

Via: Plastic Pals