Hexabot: a small 3D-printed six-legged walking robot designed for desert ant-like navigation tasks

  • Dupeyroux Julien
  • Passault Grégoire
  • Ruffier Franck
  • Viollet Stéphane
  • Serres Julien

  • Biomimetism
  • Biomimicry
  • Bionics
  • Biorobotics
  • Legged-robotics
  • Hexapod
  • Roll stability
  • Attitude stability


Over the last five decades, legged robots, and especially six-legged walking robots, have aroused great interest among the robotic community. Legged robots provide a higher level of mobility through their kinematic structure over wheeled robots, because legged robots can walk over uneven terrains without non-holonomic constraint. Walking robots' locomotion mode is now a well-known problem that permits to address navigation tasks issues over uneven terrains. We present here a six-legged walking robot, called Hexabot, which is a 3D-printed, low-cost, small and light structure developed at LaBRI as an open source project. We explain our choice of Hexabot over other interesting robotic platforms such as PhantomX in our navigation setup, and provide ground-truth measurements of both Hexabot and PhantomX dynamics stability when walking on smooth, flat terrain. Thanks to its geometrical structure and dynamic behaviour, Hexabot showed the lowest orientation disruptions and a remarkably stable walk. Precisely, Hexabot's orientation and walking values are similar to those of desert ants, considering the scale factor. Finally, we describe visual cues needed in order to complete desert ant-like navigation tasks.