70 SERVO 08.2014
Numerous impressive videos of various incarnations of
the RHex robot are floating around the Internet. We
particularly enjoyed the videos from the University of
Pennsylvania's Kod*Lab which demonstrate what they
christen a "parkour robot." The
impressive acrobatics of
Kod*Lab's RHex platform lives up
to the moniker — the video
demonstrates the bot traversing
uneven terrain, climbing stairs,
and even jumping between
tables. The bot's gait is distinctly
animal-like, even if it is a bit
slower and bouncier than the
So, to us, the OutRunner
looks a little more like RHex
motion than true walking or
running, though the OutRunner
incarnation does not look well-suited to the uneven terrain and
obstacles that the hexapod is
designed to tackle. So, how tough
is it to pull off RHex motion? Is
there more to it than simply
slapping some legs on a rotary
drive train instead of wheels?
A Robotic Walk
To investigate RHex motion,
we wanted to outfit some of our
wheeled kits with legs and see if they fared better on an
obstacle course filled with uneven terrain. Though neither
were hexapods, the Scribbler from Parallax and a custom
four-wheeled VEX robot seemed like good candidates. As a
BUILT FOR SCRIBBLING, NOT FOR WALKING. STYMIED BY THE FIRST OBSTACLE.
A PRIZE ROBOTIC SNAKE SPECIMEN.
WHERE WE'RE GOING WE DON'T
NEED WHEELS ...
SEARCHING AND RESCUING.