T8 robot tarantula gives everyone the willies
July 4, 2013
Legged robot kits aren't anything new, but unlike its competition, the T8 octopod comes with a disturbingly realistic 3D-printed exoskeleton that is sure to make an unforgettable first impression. Robugtix (a robotics company based in Hong Kong) is living up to its name with the lifelike robot tarantula, and it can be yours later this year for an introductory price of US$1,350.
The T8 is powered by 26 Hitec HS-35HD servo motors (three in each leg, and additional servos to wiggle its abdomen). This a fairly small servo type with low torque, so its performance is somewhat limited, but it keeps the cost down. The company says the first batch will ship September 30th.
The company is also offering a hexapod robot called the iitsii, but that one is smaller and doesn't have the realistic shell. It's made out of PCB and comes with 20 servos (which are even smaller and cheaper than those in the T8), and is therefore priced at a more affordable $250. This kit will be available August 31st.
Both robots come preloaded with the company's Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine to control the legs, body position, and walking gait. This means you won't have to program the robot to move as realistically as a spider or ant, which would be pretty difficult and time-consuming to do yourself. The nice thing about inverse kinematics is the robot can tilt and shift its body menacingly while the legs remain still.
You'll also need to buy the Robugtix Controller (an extra $85) and a single 4 x AA 4.8V NiMH rechargeable battery pack, which unfortunately aren't included with the kit. The controller uses a wireless Xbee module to relay commands to the robot, which is essential if you're going to have it creep around corners to prank friends and family. And if you're interested, you'll probably want to pre-order now as both robots will go up in price after the early bird special.
Be sure to check out the robots in action in the following videos, and keep an eye on Robugtix's website in the coming weeks for videos of the robots walking and photos of the T8's internal structure.