The Acme 18-Servo Hexapodal Cat-Frightener

Phoenix is the winner of the Trossen Robotics TRC Project Contest...

...and deservedly so.

She's a little small to really conquer the indoor environment, but the design is very scalable; I think a double-size Phoenix made with super-torque standard-sized servos or the big quarter-scale ones could scuttle up ordinary stairs quite easily.

(One could, in fact, be climbing your stairs right now. What was that noise?)

More at the forum thread.


[UPDATE: It's now available as a kit!]

23 Responses to “The Acme 18-Servo Hexapodal Cat-Frightener”

  1. corinoco Says:

    Having lived in Sydney all my life, I really had to struggle with the urge to find something solid to belt that thing with - it looks way too much like a Funnel Web Spider, even with only six legs.

    It does however look fantastic 'playing' with that box, an RC version would be fun for scaring the bejezzus out of people!

  2. unfunk Says:

    That was the single creepiest thing I've seen made by the hands of man...

  3. jdanforth Says:

    Well it certainly told that box who's boss.

  4. Changes Says:

    It's the first robot I can easily say actually looks alive. *shudders*

  5. Steven Den Beste Says:

    That is awesome. When I first saw it, I thought, "robotic tarantula" -- except, of course, only six legs. It moves extremely well; very impressive.

  6. Zygos Community Links Says:

    Phoenix, a robotic spider

    Phoenix is sort of a robotic spider, except for the minor detail of only having six legs. It's self-contained, and remotely controlled using Bluetooth. The movements are calculated using an Excel spreadsheet, and it moves beautifully. (via)

  7. Changes Says:

    Do they have any plans on selling the thing, or is it one of those research projects that nobody ever hears from again after their fifteen minutes of fame?

  8. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I don't think anybody's said anything about selling Phoenixes. It'd be easy enough to break the hardware down into a kit of parts, though; Phoenix is essentially just another robot-made-out-of-servos, and several of those are on the market (I think they're all bipeds, and very expensive) today.

    Control systems are the complex part, of course. There's nothing about the Phoenix structure that is inherently especially elegant; it's the PC that makes her dance.

    (Phoenix also has no sensory capability, so she's just a wireless puppet at present.)

  9. Michael Kirby Says:

    Looks like it will be available at some point, check out

  10. chiefnewo Says:

    I await my Mortein branded shotgun.

  11. unfunk Says:

    Yeah, I've looked in on that Lynxmotion thread, and at around $200usd for the bits & pieces, it looks pretty cheap.. but I have zero skills with which to put the thing together, or equipment with which to control it :(

  12. zurkog Says:

    Oh, great. How long before it starts sporting a hypodermic filled with acid, and Gene Simmons takes over?

    Futhermore, even though I'm sure it would draw 33% more electricity, they need to go ahead and just add two more legs, as more than a fourth of the posts so far (and I'm sure just as many elsewhere) involve comments like "...spider, except with only 6 legs..."

  13. KD Says:

    It is a lot bigger machine, but I think you'll find this of interest:

    Boston Dynamics' BigDog. “The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth”

  14. RichVR Says:

    Why do I find the Big Dog creepier than the Phoenix?

  15. kamikrae-z Says:

    I saw the Big Dog on BoingBoing. As someone else pointed out, the normal gait doesn't look particularly life-like, but when it's being pushed around or tripping on ice there is a strange sensation that they've just dug up two pairs of cadaver legs and run petrol through the veins...

  16. JG Says:

    Where oh where has Dan gone? I hope those firepower buggers haven't come round and broken your legs or something.

  17. stewpot2 Says:

    Speaking of the Big Dog, Here's the ghetto version.

  18. RichVR Says:

    I guess it was creeping up his stairs.

  19. phrantic Says:

    It is a little disconcerting. Where's Dan?

  20. RichVR Says:

    We miss you, Dan. I'm getting drunk in your honor right now.

  21. phrantic Says:

    I'll drink to that, RichVR! I'll get myself another G & T. It's theraputic! It prevents malaria!

  22. RichVR Says:

    The Official March 30th "Where Is Dan?" Post.

  23. Stark Says:

    Dan! Dan? DAAAANNNNNN!?!? Hmm... nobody's home. How odd. Well, I hope you're just on vacation and all is well in your world Mr. Rutter.

Leave a Reply