MorpHex, The Norwegian Transformer28/12/2011
The MorpHex robot is more of the creepy variety; well, creepy but cool, that is. Designed by Norwegian engineer Kare Halvorsen (aka Zenta), the MorpHex looks to be a big translucent ball, but it’s actually a hexapod that can sprout legs and scamper away or chase you, depending on whether it’s used for good or evil.
Halvorsen had a vision for a transforming hexapod for a long time before he started the building process of MorpHex. Using a world globe that he bought at Toys R’ Us for the body, Halvorsen stripped the plastic of the geographical stickers, then split the sphere in half. Each half he then cut into six sections each to make the outer shell that enables the robot to become a ball.
Trying to keep the robot as light and flexible as possible, Halvorsen decided to use one main digital servo to provide the central axis for the rest of the robot to work with. Connected to this central hub are twelve robotic limbs that can operate on their own or in a linked fashion to enable to the robot to walk. The top 6 are used to form the “head”, with the bottom serving as the feet that provide locomotion for the machine.
For a main board, MorpHex uses a Basicmicro ARC-32 board that is connected to a radio receiver for remote control. Right now, the ball is capable of transforming from a ball and back, and walking in all directions. Halvorsen has not programmed it to be able to roll when in ball form as of yet, but he says that it’s next on the list of functionality for the machine. You can watch a video of MorpHex in action below, as well as a link to the build process.