Grappling Hook Robot Swings Like Spiderman

We’ll admit it is a bit of a gimmick, but [Adam Beedle’s] Spider-Bot did make us smile. The little robot can launch a “web” and use it to swing. It is hard to picture, but the video below will make it all clear. It can also use the cable to climb a wall, sort of.

The bot’s ability to fling a 3D printed hook on a tether is remarkable. Details are scarce, but it looks like the mechanism is spring-loaded with a servo motor to release it. Even trailing a bit of string behind it, the range of the hook is impressive and can support the weight of the robot when it winches itself up. There’s even a release mechanism that reminds us more of Batman than Spiderman.

If we were going full autonomous, we’d consider a vision system. On the other hand, you could probably tell a lot by the tension on the cable and some way to measure the angle of it coming out of the robot. If you come up with a practical use for any of this, we’d love to see it.

We’ve seen robots that fly, jump, and can climb walls before. We don’t remember one that swings like Tarzan.

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Winners Of The Take Flight With Feather Contest

It’s hard to beat the fidelity and durability of printed text on paper. But the e-paper display gets pretty close, and if you couple it will great design and dependable features, you might just prefer an e-reader over a bookshelf full of paperbacks. What if the deal is sweetened by making it Open Hardware? The Open Book Project rises to that challenge and has just been named the winner of the Take Flight with Feather contest.

This e-reader will now find its way into the wild, with a small manufacturing run to be put into stock by Digi-Key who sponsored this contest. Let’s take a closer look at the Open Book, as well as the five other top entries.

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Hackaday Prize Entry: Octo, The Robotic Walker

Walkers like the Strandbeest are favorites due in part to their smooth design and fluid motion, but [Leandro] is going a slightly different way with Octo, an octopodal platform for exploring rough terrain. Octo is based on the Klann linkage which was developed in 1994 and intended to act as an alternative to wheels because of its ability to deal with rough terrain. [Leandro] made a small proof of concept out of soldered brass and liked the results. The next version will be larger, made out of aluminum and steel, and capable of carrying a payload.

The Strandbeest and Octo have a lot in common but differ in a few significant ways. Jansen’s linkage (which the Strandbeest uses) uses eight links per leg and requires relatively flat terrain. The Klann linkage used by Octo needs only six links per leg, and has the ability to deal with rougher ground.

[Leandro] didn’t just cut some parts out from a file found online; the brass proof of concept was drawn up based on an animation of a Klann linkage. For the next version, [Leandro] used a simulator to determine an optimal linkage design, aiming for one with a gait that wasn’t too flat, and maximized vertical rise of the leg to aid in clearing obstacles.

We’ve seen the Klann linkage before in a LEGO Spider-bot. We’re delighted to see [Leandro]’s Octo in the ring for the Wheels, wings, and walkers category of The Hackaday Prize.