HAMPSHIRE

DM

A SIX-legged, 1,900kg all-terrain walking robot has been created by a designer in Hampshire.

Matt Denton, from Winchester, believes that his six-legged ‘Mantis’ is the biggest, all-terrain operational hexapod robot in the world. It is powered by a 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine and stands 2.8 metres high.

Mr Denton, who is founder and chief designer of Micromagic Systems - a company that supplies animatronic, robotic and CGI control systems and services to the film and television industry - can pilot the robot manually while sitting in the cockpit. Alternatively, he can control it remotely using WiFi.

The machine, which is surprisingly manoeuvrable, can also tackle uneven surfaces by adapting to terrain using six-axis ‘body attitude control’, automatically level itself for the comfort of the pilot, and manipulate large objects with its ‘feet’. Footage posted on YouTube shows it tucking its legs into its body for ease of storage on the back of a vehicle trailer. It also shows the ‘Mantis’ moving a trailer around with one of its ‘feet’.

Mr Denton said: ‘This is definitely the largest hexapod - six-legged walking machine - we have built so far. ‘It started as an idea back in 2007. We secured private funding in 2009 to start the project and - after three years of design, build and testing - the robot made a first successful test drive in the summer of 2012 at Bestival UK. ‘It’s been called an instant design classic and an inspiring engineering project for the next generation.’ Mr Denton says the Mantis is available now for private hire, custom commissions, events, and sponsorship.