We've seen a lot of videos of robots doing awesome things, from a bicycling robot to a robot designed to compete in triathlons. But leave it to a team of Japanese scientists to create something truly unsettling: A spider-like robot capable of doing cartwheels, hanging from webs, and picking up objects without compromising its stability.
The Asterisk robot is a six-year-old work in progress from a team of researchers at Osaka University in Japan. It had been previously able to walk over uneven terrain, but recent advances in its design allow it to hang from and descend from a web on a wire, much like a real spider. It can also perform something akin to a cartwheel and, from the look of the video above, it's also learning how to capture and feast on tiny stuffed animals.
The secret is in the six-legged design: Two pairs of three legs keeps the robot stable even as it attempts some pretty unusual stunts. Scientists hope robots like these might be used in rescue missions after disasters such as the March 2011 earthquake that devastated the country.
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