Zebro: building a six legged robot

Piet De Vaere

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At Delft University of Technology we are developing a six legged robot inspired by a beetle. Instead of building complex and expensive robots, we build simple and cheap robots. This allows us to construct a lot of robots and use them as a swarm. Just like computer engineers found out that some problems (e.g. travelling sales man) can be solved by copying behaviour seen in nature, the same thing applies to hardware. For example, we see that animals have multiple layers of intelligence: reflexes needed to stay alive are generated by the spine, and the brain adds a layer of more complex, but less stable intelligence. This can be copied to robots by implementing the spine in a microcontroller, and implementing the brain on a processor running linux. These robots are build in all sizes. Ranging from a model you can hold in your hand, up to a model that is over half a meter in length.