The University of Pennsylvania has taken Boston Dynamics’ RHex under their wing and transformed the robot into a service droid of sorts.

The University of Pennsylvania has taken Boston Dynamics’ RHex under their wing and transformed the robot into a service droid of sorts.

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Watch for our robot themed posts during May in honor of Make: Vol 45: Robots and don’t forget to subscribe to Make: magazine.

Rockstar Robots make up the cream of the crop in the world of robotics. These are the bots that will turn heads with just their name being uttered. Even those who don’t stay on top of who’s making what should recognize a famous robot or two when they see it.

For the month of May, to celebrate the latest Make: issue on robotics, we’re going to be sharing many robot celebrities so you can know who is who the next time you’re at a robot gathering.


Most of Boston Dynamics’ robots are celebrities in their own right but some stand out from the pack because of their unusual designs or their mode of locomotion, which is prominent in the company’s RHex robot.

In RHex’s case, it uses six rotating appendages to propel itself forward and can even use them to launch itself up onto various obstacles if the need arises. The feet have been outfitted with rubber treads that help it to traverse steep inclines as well, almost as if it was some futuristic robot insect.

The RHex robot is capable of traversing almost any terrain thanks to its unique appendages with rubber pads.

The RHex robot is capable of traversing almost any terrain thanks to its unique appendages with rubber pads.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Kod*Lab has taken the robot and loaded it with specialized software that allows it to traverse just about any terrain imaginable (probably not volcanic lava though), including rocky fields, sand, mud, and even up stairs without becoming stuck.

Unlike the other celebrity robots, the RHex is remotely controlled by an operator and has a wireless range of up to seven meters and features a modular internal “bay” that can be loaded with other equipment based on job requirements.

Kod*Lab’s updated X-RHex robot features a mil-spec rail system that allows users to attach anything from additional sensors to iron-sight M4 handles for easy carry.

Kod*Lab’s updated X-RHex robot features a mil-spec rail system that allows users to attach anything from additional sensors to iron-sight M4 handles for easy carry.

The updated version of the RHex (X-RHex) features efficient power, runtime, and payload size as well as increased durability and terrain negotiation software.