Matt Denton discusses Hexapod robots in the Tinkerspace in the V&A exhibition Power of Making, 2011.
Hi. I’m Matt Denton. I’m here at the V&A demonstrating the Hexapod robots.
The first Hexapod is a small, small unit, a little white Hexapod which is actually a kit one now, and it's fairly basic but has mandibles for the head which means you can walk around and pick stuff up. But it's also been equipped with a small camera today, so there's a bit of software running on a laptop, and the software looks, takes the feed from the camera and looks for red objects, so at the moment it's following a little red ball around.
The next Hexapod is a bigger version of the same kit, so it's a big black Hexapod, and again it has a mandible for the head so it has a set of jaws that it can pick things up with. Today it's just been used like a remote control car, so from a set of joysticks I can control it's walking direction, I can control the speed that it walks at, I can control it's body attitude so again the pitch and rotate and the yaw.
This machine is a lot more advanced. It's a heavier machine, it's more stable, and it has sensors on the feet which are basically just switches so it can tell when it's in contact with the floor. The other two machines, their world is a flat surface, that's all they know about. This machine can walk over rough terrain because it can know when it's touching the floor so for example if I pick it up, the legs will search for the table, and as I put it back down again I can put it back down on my hand and it will adapt to the shape of my hand, and the table.
This is a Hexapod which has been given a camera again for it's head, it's been stylised, the head, a lot of it is just for show, but there's a little CCTV camera in there, and that's feeding back to a computer system that sits underneath of it. And that computer system has a much more advanced algoriyhm that's looking for faces, so it looks for eyes and the mouth of the face in a crowd of people, and once it's picked up the face it can track multiple faces, but it'll find the closest one to it and it'll start tracking it so as the person moves around the camera, it'll move around with them and follow them about.
AUDIENCE MEMBER 1: It's super cool.
AUDIENCE MEMBER 2: Well it's quite interesting because it has human-like movements, and the way it looks at your face is strange you know, you realise it's a machine but then it's kind of following you and behaving like a living thing.
AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: Yeah amazing, a really excellent talk on the work that he's done, and really really great to be able to interact with him and talk to him about something that he obviously cares a lot about, so yeah, brilliant, excellent.