Hexapod robot folds for transit, walks out for missions, dances for fun
Though we haven't quite arrived at the personal home robot future predicted in many movies, there are many examples of robots being used in industry, emergency services support and surveillance. Development of big walking bots, small rollers and shape-changing drones continues apace, but Robugtix sees a gap in the market for something that slots inbetween. Its new Z6 robot is a multi-terrain robotic mover small enough to be carried in a backpack but capable enough to carry cargo and perform on-site tasks.
Robugtix has been making creepy eight-legged walkers for a few years now, launching the T8 and the T8X in 2013. Now the company is moving into the professional bot space and the first machine out of the dev lab is the Z6.
It's backpack-friendly 20 x 23 x 13.7 cm (7.8 x 9 x 5.4 in) compact dimensions allow for it to be carried to where it's needed on foot and then deployed, after it unfolds its six jointed legs from a central rectangular block to measure 52 x 49 x 17 cm (20.5 x 19.3 x 6.7 in). The Z6 is controlled remotely using a joystick controller with integrated monitor, making it a good fit for urgent site inspections, exploration, search and rescue, and more.
The hexapod has a built-in camera for live streaming video, is able to climb stairs and move over other obstacles, can roll over and right itself if it gets flipped, is able to navigate through tight spaces and cross irregular terrain, and carry cargo. Walking speed is reported to be around 30 cm per second.
The Z6 uses 18 motorized joints with 3 degrees of freedom per leg, there's a built-in accelerometer/gyro and the tips of each leg host sensors that detect contact with the ground. It runs on a more advanced version of the software used for the consumer spider bots, Bigfoot Robotics Engine Pro.
"The battery life per charge may vary depending on the application, more specifically, the types and durations of motions involved, and the payload it's carrying," the company's Irene Han told New Atlas. "For example, climbing stairs requires more power than walking. So, it's hard to provide you with an exact value without knowing the application. During testing, however, we've averaged around one hour of battery life."
Robugtix has designed the Z6 as a modular robotic platform that can accommodate different types of light payload – such as pan-tilt cameras, grippers and sensors – dependent on the mission profile, and more professional robots are under development. We've no word on pricing or availability, but you can see the Z6 performing a little dance and climbing some stairs in the demo video below.