I've always loved insects and arachnids and I've always loved robots; thus, my life-long infatuation with robots that move like insects and arachnids was inevitable. Unfortunately, battery-powered toys have almost always came up short on meeting my obsessive need: Either they lumbered along using inflexible legs or they had wheels on the bottom with legs on the sides that wiggled whenever the toy moved in an extremely poor imitation of arthropod locomotion. But times have changed, and with that comes a significant leap (crawl?) forward with Robugtix's T8X Robot Spider.
Robugtix has been working on spider-like robots for some time now, and the T8X Spider is one of the latest outcomes of its efforts. T8X has plenty of features, with 26 servo motors that control its movement and Wi-Fi capabilities that allow it to be controlled wirelessly from anywhere; however, what really makes this spider robot stand out is its Bigfoot Robotics Engine. According to the Robugtix T8X web page, the Bigfoot Robotics Engine "handles all the complex math calculations necessary for controlling multi-legged walking robots. All complex computations are safely hidden from the user similar to a black box. This means that the user only has to send short and simple commands to the robot (for example, instructing it to walk forward at a desired speed) and the engine will automatically take care of all the details, including inverse kinematics, leg trajectory planning, leg gait coordination, motor control, etc. This makes it incredibly easy for anyone to play with advanced robotics."
The inner workings of a T8X Spider. Note the extra space provided for a camera add-on.
Of course, another thing that sets the T8X apart is its price: $675. This is a significant reduction from the prices of T8X's predecessor--the T8, which costs $2,950--but it's still a big chunk of change, especially if you're a budget-challenged geek like me. Yet if you've got the cash to burn and love robot spiders, you might want to give this the T8X a (web) spin. Check out the demo video of the T8 below: