RHex, Cute Mechanical Robotic Pooch With Floppy Legs

By David Ponce

It’s beginning to look like the company Boston Dynamics (makers of the lovely BigDog) are producing some wicked (albeit marginally useful, for now) bots. For proof, just take a look at the RHex.

It looks a little like a mechanical pooch, with floppy weedwhacker legs. While admittedly cute, in a “How-Fugly” kind of sense, the point of the machine is its extraordinary rough terrain mobility.

RHex climbs over rock fields, mud, sand, vegetation, railroad tracks, telephone poles and up steep slopes and stairways. RHex has a sealed body, making it fully operational in wet weather, in muddy and swampy conditions, and it can swim on the surface or dive underwater.

RHex is controlled remotely from an operator control unit at distances up to 600 meters. A video uplink provides front and rear views from RHex?s onboard cameras. RHex also uplinks navigational data from onboard compass and GPS and from payload sensors. A downlink allows the operator to control mobility and to operate mission payloads.

There’s no price anywhere, and you’re meant to email them to get your own. I sense a heavy sales pitch at the end of that request, so proceed with care. If you ask me, it’s probably a case of “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

[The RHex] VIA [Robot Gossip]

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