Sphere Morphing Hexabot Takes On The Wilderness

Morphex Ready To Roll

[Zenta's] sphere morphing hexabot, the MorpHex, continues to impress us. He’s just released a video showing it off — by having it roll down a hill!

We’ve been following the MorpHex since 2011, and it really is an amazing project — especially when it started to roll around on its own! In this latest update, [Zenta] was trying to get a good outdoor test video, as he’s never seen a hexapod robot roll down a hill. The video (and rolling) goes smoothly until about 3 minutes 36 seconds in, when the MorpHex experiences a catastrophic inner body servo failure!

Surprisingly, it didn’t fail during its tumble down the hill, but when it was just walking around afterwards. [Zenta] attributes it to a poor quality servo and had bad feelings about it breaking previously. Not fixing it earlier resulted in having to spend 10 hours of his Easter holiday taking Morphex apart and repairing it! Just goes to show… don’t wait until it’s too late to fix something!

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Sphere morphing hexabot now rolls around

[Zenta] has been building his MorpHex rolling hexapod for nearly a year now, and good things come to those who wait. After a ton of development and fabrication, [Zenta] finally has his mechanical jellyfish robot rolling and walking around.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen [Zenta]‘s MorpHex robot in action. A year ago, we saw the beginnings of the project with that included 25 servos mounted on a custom chassis. Last winter, the top hemisphere of the MorpHex was added, but rolling locomotion was still on the drawing board. A lot has changed since then, and now [Zenta]‘s robot can roll or walk across the floor.

From the video (available after the break), we see that [Zenta] kept the one degree of freedom for the panels on the upper cylinder. He’s thinking about making the MorpHex more symmetrical; just copying the plans for the bottom hemisphere onto the top, for instance. This plan would allow the MorpHex to roll in a straight line, so we can’t wait to see what [Zenta] cooks up next.

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