We've seen some rather nightmare-inducing robots inspired by insects, but, once again, the folks at Germany's Bielefeld University have managed to turn something inherently creepy into a rather lighthearted affair. HECTOR, or hexapod cognitive autonomously operating robot, was designed to help its creators understand how exactly real animals manage to move so gracefully. Physically speaking, HECTOR sports six legs, with 18 joints in total, that protrude from an exoskeleton made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Its legs are given a rather life-like range of motion provided by a special set of "elastic joint drives" and a series of "biologically inspired" algorithms, and its exoskeleton can carry a load weighing 30 kilograms -- the robot itself weighs a mere 12 kilograms. What's more, HECTOR's built to learn from its experiences. Okay, so a three foot robotic insect that can carry nearly three times its weight does sound kind of creepy in retrospect, but HECTOR really does have some smooth moves. You can see at least one of its legs in action after the break.
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