We all had our various obsessions as children, but most of us grew out of them and went on to get sensible jobs and take up sensible hobbies… not so Matt Denton from Winchester in Hampshire, UK.
Matt’s company Micromagic Systems worked for four years to build a 2-tonne, driveable, turbo diesel hexapod monster which it describes as “the biggest all-terrain operational hexapod robot in the world.” The 2.8 metre tall machine is driven by Matt himself, and uses a complex system of computer-guided hydraulic legs fitted with an array of sensors to make sure the hexapod remains steady while on the move.
The hexapod is powered by a Linux PC running software designed by Matt himself, and is controlled from a panel PC in the cockpit, or remotely. Although the Mantis started out as just a pet project for Matt in his spare time, he now travels to events with the machine and uses it to inspire a new generation of designers and engineers. As home-grown DIY projects go, this one is pretty cool… I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to grab my trusty Worx drill and see what I can create in my back yard!
So where did the idea for this beast come from? According to Matt, he was a big fan of The Empire Strikes Back as a child, and this, combined with his love of insects, inspired him to create the giant hexapod. Denton’s company also creates robotics and animatronics for the movie industry, including a six-legged turtle which appeared in the Harry Potter movies, and electronics behind the Honey Monster and robots created by Jim Henson’s workshop for the movie Lost in Space!