Military robots are almost two a-penny, but few of them will incite fear and loathing at the tingling nerves at the top of your spine like this one--a six legged, half-wheel bot that can happily jump curbs and pad across deserts to spy on you.
RHex is a crawling robot we've seen before, coming from research at MIT and with a pedigree that includes Boston Dynamics (the makers of the larger, wickedly scary BigDog), but the diminutive beast has just had a big upgrade and is now stronger and more reliable than his predecessor. Developed in part with DARPA funding, the new X-RHex is undeniably a military beasty--he's even fitted with military-grade equipment mounting rails on the top.
The basic principle is that the robot's weird half-wheel, half-leg traction system means it can tackle steps, flat concrete or desert sand just as easily. In fact X-RHex can tromp along under its own electrical power for up to two hours--making it an ideal short range spybot for the kind of environment that the U.S. forces find themselves deployed to at the moment. Check it out--and then add it to the list of military 'bots that give you the chills.
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