XR R1 brings hexapod robotics to tech-savvy consumers
It often seems that soon after a new type of scientific or industrial robot is unveiled, a hobbyist model follows. First, there were the Bittle and Mini Pupper miniature quadrupeds – now, there's the XR R1 hexapod.
Created by Chinese robotics/AI company Shenzhen XiaoR Geek Technology, the XR R1 is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. And true to its hexapod label, it scuttles around on six articulated aluminum legs.
This form of locomotion allows the robot to make on-the-spot 360-degree turns, not unlike a spider. It can perform a total of 12 such preprogrammed movements, others of which include warming up (wherein it twists back and forth), provocation (wherein it waves its front legs up and down) and stretching.
That said, it can also be manually controlled in real time via a smartphone, gamepad or PC.
Utilizing a Raspberry Pi 4B processor and a Robot-Eye 3.0 2-megapixel camera, the XR R1 is additionally capable of AI-enabled functions such as following lines on the ground, tracking/following target objects, and recognizing faces, QR codes and colors. Video from the camera is transmitted live to the user's phone.
Not surprisingly, the robot is aimed largely at electronically-inclined tinkerers, and is thus open-source. Custom programs can be written for it using either the Python or C++ languages. Power is provided by a 8.4V/4,000-mAh battery. There's currently no word on runtime.
Pledges for the XR R1 start at US$899 – the planned retail price is $1,299. Assuming it reaches production, it should ship next February. A less expensive lower-spec'd XR E1 model and a higher-spec'd XR J1 model are also being offered, at $699 and $1,899 respectively. You can see the robot in action, in the video below.
Prospective backers might also want to check out the existing Robugtix T8 eight-legged robotic tarantula, the latest version of which sells for $950.