Robotics

Mantis – a two ton turbo diesel hexapod you can drive

Mantis – a two ton turbo diese...
Mantis, built by Matt Denton of Micromagic Systems, is the largest operational hexapod in the world
Mantis, built by Matt Denton of Micromagic Systems, is the largest operational hexapod in the world
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Matt Denton, chief designer and founder of Micromagic Systems, sits in the cockpit of his giant hexapod robot Mantis
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Matt Denton, chief designer and founder of Micromagic Systems, sits in the cockpit of his giant hexapod robot Mantis
Chief designer Matt Denton stands proudly by his passion project, an enormous hexapod robot named Mantis
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Chief designer Matt Denton stands proudly by his passion project, an enormous hexapod robot named Mantis
Mantis' six legs are powered by a turbo diesel engine and 18 hydraulic actuators
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Mantis' six legs are powered by a turbo diesel engine and 18 hydraulic actuators
Mantis is described as the world's biggest operational all-terrain hexapod robot
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Mantis is described as the world's biggest operational all-terrain hexapod robot
Mantis takes a break during the filming of its promotional video
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Mantis takes a break during the filming of its promotional video
CAD rendering of Mantis, the world's largest hexapod robot
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CAD rendering of Mantis, the world's largest hexapod robot
Mantis makes its debut
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Mantis makes its debut
Close-up: Mantis takes its first step
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Close-up: Mantis takes its first step
Mantis stomps around an abandoned factory site
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Mantis stomps around an abandoned factory site
Mantis was built over the course of four years
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Mantis was built over the course of four years
The Mantis hexapod project was privately funded
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The Mantis hexapod project was privately funded
Mantis is actually a Mark II, an earlier version was tested in 2011
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Mantis is actually a Mark II, an earlier version was tested in 2011
Matt Denton, the chief designer of Mantis, drives it around an abandoned factory site
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Matt Denton, the chief designer of Mantis, drives it around an abandoned factory site
Mantis' legs are quite flexible but a bit slow
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Mantis' legs are quite flexible but a bit slow
Mantis' legs contain a number of sensors and are controlled by HexEngine software, which works on smaller hexapod robots
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Mantis' legs contain a number of sensors and are controlled by HexEngine software, which works on smaller hexapod robots
Mantis overcomes hazardous terrain
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Mantis overcomes hazardous terrain
Mantis, built by Matt Denton of Micromagic Systems, is the largest operational hexapod in the world
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Mantis, built by Matt Denton of Micromagic Systems, is the largest operational hexapod in the world
Mantis stands 2.8 meters tall
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Mantis stands 2.8 meters tall
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The term mad scientist gets thrown around quite a bit, but in the case of one Matt Denton it most certainly applies. His company, Micromagic Systems, has been working steadily over the past four years to design and build a walking robot that's big enough to carry a human passenger. The resulting beast is described as "the biggest, all-terrain operational hexapod robot in the world."

The robot weighs a massive 1,900 kg (4,188 pounds), stands 2.8 meters (9.18 ft) tall, and is powered by a Perkins 2.2 liter turbo diesel engine and hydraulics. It's outfitted with a variety of sensors (including force transducers, angle sensors, and an inclinometer) that help it walk. A Linux PC running HexEngine – software designed to control hexapod locomotion – takes care of the 18 hydraulic actuators in its legs, while a panel PC puts you in the driver's seat.

"This is definitely the largest hexapod we have built so far," says Micromagic founder and Mantis' chief designer Matt Denton. His company, which produces animatronics for the film and television industry, has worked on hexapods before – including one that appeared as a six-legged turtle in the Harry Potter films. Mantis, however, was a passion project that is now being rented for events.

Matt Denton, chief designer and founder of Micromagic Systems, sits in the cockpit of his giant hexapod robot Mantis
Matt Denton, chief designer and founder of Micromagic Systems, sits in the cockpit of his giant hexapod robot Mantis

This isn't the only ginormous hexapod robot being built. A team from Massachusetts is working on one of a similar size called Stompy, following a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. However, Matt and his team beat them to the punch with Mantis, which you can see in action in the video below.

Source: Mantis Robot, Mantis Facebook page

Mantis - Two Tonne Turbo Diesel Hexapod Walking Machine

View gallery - 18 images
19 comments
AdamBourke
I can see where this is going. Make it a bit bigger... Straighten out the legs... Add Lasers to the front... Wipe out the rebel base on Hoth...
Milton
SOOOoooooo AWESOME!
Evildeer
I'm not sure why this is so new.
6-legged Timberjack Walking machines have been around for a long time for forestry work. They use them because they do less ground damage than the normal tracked or wheeled harvesters.
(see video of one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD2V8GFqk_Y)
They're kind of cool.
sk8dad
Although the post-apocalyptic setting offered plenty of drama, it was quite notable that the Mantis was only shown to crawl as a breathtakingly slow pace on perfectly level and flat terrain. Ironically, a mantis only uses 4 legs to ambulate, so even the name is sort of wrong here.
Matt Denton
@sk8dad. So build something better!!! PLEASE! and you can even pick your own name!
Robin McCabe
From the nothing new department. The John Deere Walking Forest Machine was a prototype built and run in 1994 and currently sits on display in Moline IL.
It probably never went into production because they did not have the portable computing power that is now available, to automate most of the functions.
Schrodinger
This is fantastic! Great work Matt!
Now when can I order one of those giant robots from Pacific Rim? :)
Tjoe
@Evildeer, that Timberjack walking machine looks designed for two dimension space, not three. No agility.
This is different...and I might say...a similar device has been on my drawing board. Ant's have very nimble legs with 5 joints, which would be superior on rough terrain and a forked claw for holding onto.
I have the a double Rexroth flow and pressure compensated pump(s) for operating two leg circuits, operating in sets of three in contact with the ground at all times. Rapid and precise movement, coordinated in 3d space is a challenge that can be overcome with computers and hydraulics today. I hope a couple sets of large cartridge valve banks are in my future.
The above is a great advancement in the technology and I hope to see more of it.
Gargamoth
That's not new tech at all. Those arms/legs are from construction equipment vehicles. paint it grey and tadaa. If it was going to be special, first off, it needs to be fast with the ability to climb since it has legs and grasp, anyway..
Charles Slavens
Give the project a "A+" for presentation! But the demonstration left a lot to be desired.