Giving the Hexbug Spider a set of eyes


The Hexbug Spider is a neat little robot toy available at just about any Target or Walmart for about $20. With a few extra parts, though, it can become a vastly more powerful robotics platform, as [eric] shows us with his experiments with a Hexbug and OpenCV.

Previously, we’ve seen [eric] turn a Hexbug spider into a line following robot with a pair of IR LEDs and a drop-in replacement motor driver. This time, instead of a few LEDs, [eric] turned to an Android smartphone running an OpenCV-based app.

The smartphone app detects a user-selectable hue – in this case a little Android toy robot – and sends commands to the MSP430-powered motor control board over the headphone jack to move the legs. It’s a neat build, and surprisingly nimble for a $20 plastic hexapod robot.

You can see the OpenCV-controlled Hexbug in action after the break, along with a video build log with [eric] showing everyone how to tear apart one of these robot toys.


  1. Ren says:

    “user selectable hue”, does “hue” mean program/driver/sketch? Or does it mean the robot will target/respond to a literal hue or color?

  2. kay says:

    Very sweet!

  3. fartface says:

    GAC! Why use a awesome phone like the nexus HSPA for that? Why not use one of the Craptastic HTC or other junk phones that are not running Jellybean 4.2?

  4. Solenoid says:

    Very fun. I’ve made a similar app, but it uses the inbuilt face recognition software to track faces (among other things):

  5. Jeff says:

    For those in the Chicago area, Eric, who did this project, will be giving a talk on Computer Vision, OpenCV, and Android at Pumping Station: One (3519 N Elston) on Thursday 1/10 at 7:00 pm – For those not in the Chicago area, we will be streaming a webcast of the talk at the same time and link.

  6. Ty Underwood says:

    as an aside, this toy is a stolen design from a guy named Jamie who developed this a few years ago. He is also building a giant rideable one in his shed.

  7. Timothy Wi says:

    Hey what about adding a spycamera, like this one: Contraespionaje. That way people won’t notice that robot is looking at them :)

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