There comes a point of course where innovation becomes embalmed in plastic, and it’s time to move on.
I mean these are neat and all, and some of them are autonomous and some aren’t, and they’re as cheap as chips (about 20 packets of chips) etc – but there’s something about something being mass-produced at this level that tends to suggest that the cool kids have gone elsewhere.
There are some videos on the site showing how they walk – and they actually walk quite well, which is rare for these things – in fact I think the crab is a variant of a Theo Janssen machine. I think this type of mass-production though is a bit like what Forest Higgs may have been on about when was going on about having the wrong model for evolution.
So imagine that you were working on this secret project where you were making a robot that could walk (using a Theo Janssen mechanism) and avoided obstacles and headed towards light etc… and then you found that you could get them for $19.99 at your local toyshop and for $5 on the internet if you bought them in bulk.
50% the fun is doing it yourself of course, but the other 95% is doing something that no one’s done before.
Not that I want to be negative of course – if the Hexabug folk come across this… if you want to do something really cool, make something that can be hacked… or have things plugged into… so people can use your systems as a platform that they can then build their own stuff upon. The main thing that’s driving all this DIY robotics… is the DIY.