Hexapod Emotional Spider Robot Sees Your Face

The Hexapod robot now has museum credentials to go with its acting chops. The Emotibot exhibit running at the London Science Museum shows robots at their most emotionally expressive.


(Hexapod confronts its designer, Matthew Denton [at left])

Although some people are repulsed by spiders, they are fascinated with spider robots. Hexapod has remarkable software that allows it to interact with human beings in an emotionally expressive way.

Hexapod tracks the faces of visitors, and pays attention to those who walk around it. If Hexapod is aggressively confronted, it backs away. Children love Hexapod!

If a person hold's Hexapod's gaze for a few seconds, their picture is uploaded to its website.

Take a look at the fascinating behaviors of Hexapod in this video.


(Hexapod robot also Harry Potter star video)

Prototypes for the Hexapod robot were used in the making of two Harry Potter films; they co-starred as Hagrid's pets.

"It's a very advanced robot and is really about showing children they can interact with robots," said Mr Denton. "It's amazing to watch their reaction, it's a 'wow' moment when it springs into life and follows them around. I worked hard to make it as natural as possible, so the hexapod sways as it moves, exactly like an animal."

SF readers may be reminded of the spider tripod robots from Arthur C. Clarke's wonderful 1972 novel Rendezvous with Rama.

The creature was not quite as tall as a man, and looked far too fragile to be dangerous, but that did not excuse their carelessness in letting it sneak up on them unawares. It reminded Norton of nothing so much as a three-legged spider, or daddy-long-legs, and he wondered how it had solved the problem - never challenged by any creature on Earth - of tripedal locomotion.

Also, take a look at these pictures of the Minority Report spider robots and the deadly spider robots from Runaway - see any similarities?

Regard these spider robots, if you dare:

Readers! Matt Denton is looking for funding to make a 2 meter-wide hexapod robot. Time to pony up, robot spider fanciers.

Read a bit more about Hexapod in the Daily Mail and in This is London.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/5/2008)

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