Turning the Hexbug spider into a line-following robot

You may be familiar with the Hexbug Spider, a small electronic robot toy sold at Target and Walmart for $20. While they’re able to be commanded to move forward, backward, and spin around on a dime, there aren’t any external sensors to make it really exciting. [Eric] sought to remedy this and came up with a line-following board replacement for the Hexbug Spider.

The stock Spider has a small circuit board that allows for the control of two motors with a remote. [Eric] removed this control board and replaced it with his own, powered by a TI MSP430 microcontroller. On this board, [Eric] included a pair of IR LEDs, able to detect the path of a white line drawn on the ground. With just a little bit of code, [Eric] made his $20 Hexbug Spider into a very cool looking robot.

[Eric] figured out how to improve his robot toy, but the power of the MSP430 microcontroller he used doesn’t limit him to only following lines. By using an MSP430 Launchpad, anyone can upload new code to the improved Spider, and even add new sensors to this creepy walking robotic toy.


  1. TheBuilder says:

    How does the mechanics of the legs work? I can’t buy this cool toy robot where I live, so I would just love to make one myself!

  2. Punctuate That Smartguy says:

    You taunt me by showing them clumsily do what I know they can eloquently.

  3. festernd says:
  4. Smonson says:

    Mr Mantzel is a cool guy, and deserves to live on a better planet than this one.

  5. Daniel says:

    It seems to waste time repeatedly scanning in the wrong direction when following curves. Changing the code slightly to scan in the direction of the previous successful acquisition would probably speed up cornering a bit.

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