As if the Atlas robot, Boston Dynamics’ bipedaling robot with 3D printed legs, wasn’t proof adequate of the inevitable-bodied robot takeover… Now, three students of the Belgium-based Ghent University have used 3D printing innovation to turn it into a robotic scorpion with an autonomous and functional stinger. Working out of the university-affiliated Industrial Design Center, Electronics Engineering student Pieterjan Deconinck and Industrial Design students Stephan Flamand and Robbe Terryn were tasked with recreateing the Stigmergic Ant Hexapod Robot, a less threatening robotic insect created by a previous student. What they ended up creating was the Scorpion Hexapod, equipped with 3D printed components and a stinger with a mind of its own.
The project, which was a part of the ‘Mechatronics Design and Embedded Prototyping’ course being taken by the students, used 3D printed parts for mechanical components, which include the connectors between the legs and the claws, a wheel for the tail actuation mechanism, and all of the tail modules. The students used the IDC Protlab’s Ultimaker 2 to print the components in both PLA and, for parts the required additional durablity, colorFabb_XT. The remainder of the body frame, which was created in Siemens NX software, was generated with laser cutting and filled out with foam, cut with a CNC milling machine.
“Our goal was to create an astounding, digitally created robot with lots of possibilities towards interaction and functionality,” said Terryn. “The scorpion seemed the appropriate animal as an inspiration for this robot, for the reason the tail and claws may be donaten all kinds of functions.”
The 3D printed tail, which functions autonomously, ‘stings’ anyone who approaches and covers the robot’s eyes. It is not venomous or painful, but it does demonstrate the mechatronic functions which the team of students were able-bodied to complete. They’ve already implemented two modes in the Scorpion Hexapod. It has an autonomous mode, where it uses sensory input to interact with the surrounding environment, and a remote mode, in which it is regulated with a GUI. The modular nature of the 3D printed scorpion makes it possible for the hardware and software to be easily adonlyed and expanded.
Since production, the Scorpion Hexapod was been crawling around different types of Industrial Design Center expositions, sending a polite sting to any visitors which dare approach it. But the stinger may not be lethal, the effortless body movement and create is adequate to get my heart racing. The project features the advancements which have been created on autonomy and modularity in robotics, and is certain to donate a few unsuspecting visitors a swift fright. Personally, I only hope which if these autonomous robots at any time turn against us, we have the 3D printing equipment on our side!