Recently the field of mechanical engineering has been turning out some interesting looking robots. There have been many robots built within the last decade that were modeled after insects and/or spiders. Engineers often study the physics involved in the movements that spiders or insects make. This is because spiders and insects use their legs efficiently and accurately, while two or four legged animals are clumsy by comparison. Simply put, their greater number of legs serves as shock absorbers during movement. By studying spider and insect movement, engineers can build faster moving, and less clunky robots. Such robots from the past were often being developed by, and for, the military in order to make finding trapped victims an easier task during search and rescue missions. The most recent insect-like robot to be developed was not built by scientists working for the military. Actually some guy tinkering around in his garage built the most recent insect-robot.

A part-time Swedish robotics engineer, Kåre Halvorsen, has recently created a robot that looks almost exactly like an enormous spider; only the robot has six legs as opposed to the spider’s obvious eight legs. The robotics engineer has plenty of time to tinker around with electronic equipment during his spare time because he only works during the evenings and the weekends. Halvorsen’s robot has been named MX-Phoenix, and it operates on eighteen different motors.

Just like spiders themselves, Halversen’s robotic-spider gets around quickly since it can negotiate uneven surfaces with greater efficiency and accuracy than a two or four-legged animal.

However, what is even more impressive than the robot is the man who invented it. Halversen is an amateur robot maker, but he does hold a degree in engineering. The robotic-spider has three motors on each leg, and algorithms programmed into a remote control operate each of the eighteen motors. Having a robot with six, or more legs is an advantage over their lesser legged counterparts because the extra legs keep robotic-spiders from tipping from side to side as they move. So it is likely that Halverson only invented the robotic-spider so that he would not have to get up to go the fridge as often. What other advantages could be had from designing a moving robot after the body of an insect or spider?

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