This is Norweigian Kåre Halvorsen’s MorpHex project.
MorpHex improves upon the traditional static hexapod body by the addition of a set of six radially-irising arms, each of which carries the top leg joint of one of the six legs. By expanding or contracting the iris, the diameter of MorpHex’s overall footprint can be dynamically adjusted. The embedded video above shows off this capability nicely.
In the next stage of development, MorpHex will mount a section of a hollow hemisphere at the end of each leg as a “foot.” Maximally contracting the legs will align these sections to enclose MorpHex’s lower body in a continuous hemisphere which, in the final version, will be contiguous with an upper hemisphere mounted on top of the body. I wonder if Kåre has considered mounting another six limbs with another six sphere-sections upside down on top of the first? [via Hack a Day]