Matt Denton is a British Engineer who has been inspired by movies like Labyrinth and Star Wars since he was a kid – they contributed to fueling his passion for animatronics and aided in the creation of the Mantis, a robot that looks basically like an over-sized spider. While it might be nightmare fuel for some, we think it must be a lot of fun having it around.
Denton was inspired by the AT-AT robots that appeared in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back when he created Mantis, the 2-ton hexapod robot that measures 2.8m x 5m (9ft 2in x 16ft 4in), which has quickly found its way into the Guinness World Records. Best part? It’s ride-able. Yes, you can get right inside the robot spider and walk around in it.
It took Denton three years to build the robot and get comfortable with hydraulics, of which he, at the time, knew very little about.
“I had very little experience with hydraulics, but had to figure out how the engine, hydraulic pump and tank would work together,” Denton said, and added that he “had to become an expert in multiple areas, which added to a lot of evenings reading.”
The Mantis is powered by a turbo diesel engine, which allows it to walk at dazzling speeds of over 1kmh (0.6mph). By using two three-axis joysticks and 28 buttons, the Mantis rider can control the hexapod with 18 degrees of freedom. It also has a Linux-based PC that acts as its brain. Sure, it’s not fast, but it’s definitely quite smart.
Credit: Guinness World Records / YouTube
The Mantis is not Denton’s only attempt at building a hexapod robot – he already has 20 more on the list, albeit, much smaller.
Even so, he does not plan to stop here: in the future Denton would like to build an even better Mantis, weighing in at 200-tons, which would be used underwater.