If you’re planning to run a Trade Federation battling Jedi Knights and need some battle droids, then German robotics company Festo might have the perfect thing.
The company recently unveiled a spate of new zany robots, adding to the veritable zoo of animals it’s already built, with one shaped like a flying fox, and this creation, which it’s calling the BionicWheelBot. Watch this oddly Stranger Things-inspired video the company produced:
The bot is inspired by the flic-flac spider, a recently discovered type of arachnid that’s native to Morocco which essentially does handsprings to roll out of danger when it’s threatened. Ingo Rechenberg, a bionics professor at the Technical University of Berlin, discovered the spider type and worked with Festo on this robot’s design, according to IEEE Spectrum. Festo’s main business is designing factory automation systems, as well as robots.
Its latest robot has eight legs like any good spider, and tucks six of them in when it rolls, using 15 motors and the remaining two legs to spring forward. Festo said that this design allows robots to be built that can handle a range of terrains—the bot can walk like a regular spider when the ground is uneven, or roll faster when the ground is flat. It could inspire a new generation of robots that don’t necessarily have to be designed like humans are to operate in our world and help solve problems.
That being said, I’m not sure how happy I’d be to be helped out by a giant rolling spider robot in most situations. And let’s not get started on the advantage this gives them when the robot revolution comes.