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Designed and built in Britain by Matt Denton, founder of Micromagic Systems, but who is perhaps better known for making the animatronic turtle in the Harry Potter movies, the Mantis is not aimed for production, but is up for hire.
The hydraulics of six legs are powered by a 2,2-litre Perkins turbo diesel and controlled by rather powerful computer, either from inside the helicopter-like cockpit or remotely.
”This walking idea started as an idea back in 2007. We secured private funding in 2009, and after three years of design, building and testing, the robot made its first successful test drive in the summer of 2012 at the Bestival UK. The Mantis weighs as much as a small car at 1 900 kg, has knees that are 2,8 metres high, which bend with 18 hydraulic actuators.
Programming the software to keep the centre balanced was the main difficulty in building the Mantis.
As a result, the cockpit resembles that of a helicopter, which has force transducers, angle sensors and an inclinometer that enable the operator to “walk” the Mantis over almost any terrain.
Denton, whose company produces mail-order mini-robots and animatronics for film and television, was the first to walk it.