Do science fiction books and movies inspire inventors or do movie directors read up on what’s going on in laboratories around the world and adapt ideas from them? I suppose it could be a bit of both.
Movies like Star Wars introduced robots more than 30 years ago, while Isaac Asimov’s collection of short stories about Robbie the robot was published as far back as 1950 under the title “I, Robot”.
In any event, Norwegian engineer Kare Halvorsen has developed the MorpHex, a six-footed robot that is shaped like a ball. And it does not really matter where he drew his inspiration from.
When its feet are extended, this hexapod robot can “walk”- perhaps “crawl” is a more accurate description of what it does. When its feet are retracted, it curls up rather like a ball and then its mode of locomotion is more a “roll”. Thus far, the robot’s crawl is controlled; the rolling movement is not fully controlled yet.
The MorpHex is the size of a globe, which is not hard to believe considering that it was built using a globe from Toys “R” Us. To make the MorpHex, Kare also used 25 servos, a Basicmicro ARC-32 board, an 8 amp Turnigy regulator and an XBee radio. The gadget is powered by a 5000 mAh LiPo battery pack.
This robot is still under development, and so is not available for you to buy as yet. Details like pricing will be known only as and when Kare Halvorsen has ironed out the wrinkles in his robot and is ready to sell them commercially.