Researchers from the University of Bielefeld’s Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology have designed, well basically, a robotic insect. And he goes by the name HECTOR, which stands for Hexapod Cognitive autonomously Operating Robot, obviously.
Made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic, HECTOR weighs only about 26.45 pounds, yet his exoskeleton, which is the carbon fiber part, only accounts for 13% of his weight. Talk about a light yet durable exoskeleton! And he even has the ability to carry up to 66 pounds of weight (over twice its weight) with minimal deformation.
HECTOR is able to mimic movement of a bug by using a new kind of elastic joint drive. With six legs and 18 joints, “each drive is equipped with sensors, electronic controls, a dedicated processor and a sensorized elastic coupling all controlled by biologically inspired algorithms. These allow HECTOR to react by yielding during collisions or interactions with people and they are said to move as smooth as muscles.”
The researchers behind HECTOR somehow figured out a way for his control program to run on the same distributed intelligence principle found in a real insect brain in response to stimuli. “A specially developed interface and bus concept processes sensory information and links the robot’s movement to the control system.”
HECTOR and his creators have high expectations for his future. They hope for him to soon enough be able to learn and plan on his own which will help in further exploration. Although I don’t quite think HECTOR will blend in too well in a wild environment, what a cool concept! Check out the video below to see the first presentation of HECTOR’s design concept.