A UK-based robotics engineer, Matt Denton, has created an unbelievable rideable hexapod robot called Mantis. The massive robot is 2.8m x 5m and weighs nearly two tons. The robot has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest rideable hexapod which was ever created. Denton explained that he was first inspired to become an engineer by the AT-ATs in the Star Wars movie. He saw the film when he was eight and knew immediately what he wants to do in the future.
Denton is now living his dream working on films like Harry Potter and more recently on Star Wars Episode VII in which he helped to design the droid BB-8. Mantis the six-legged robot can be controlled both from inside the cockpit and remotely via WiFi. 2.2 liter Perkins Motors drive the limbs of the robot and power the spider to walk at a reassuring 1km/h. Despite being slow, Mantis has a broad range of movements manipulated by two three-axis joysticks and 28 buttons.
Denton’s journey towards Mantis began by designing toy-sized hexapods in 2009. He has experimented with various building materials more than 20 individual spiders. One of his robots were even used in a Harry Potter film to assist the animation of a six-legged turtle. The final version the robot took more than three years to build, and that also took a lot of effort. An early version built by Denton, collapsed when hydraulics failed. Denton is working on an even larger version of Mantis and hopefully, it will be able to swim underwater as well.