Nature has inspired some impressive robot designs, with this Fraunhofer-designed spider robot being the latest example. The prototype closely mimics the movement of a spider through some pretty remarkable technology — its eight legs are modeled after a real spider's hydraulically-operated limbs, which provide great stability in uneven terrain. Some models being tested even have ability to jump — the legs operate pneumatically, which allows them to bend, extend and propel the robot through the air.
Not only is this robot extremely mobile, it's also highly rigid and very light, which is a major component in its ability to leap. Despite the impressive technology and specialized body, Fraunhofer claims that production of these robots will be relatively cheap, thanks to efficiencies in the assembly process. In fact, they believe that these robots can be disposed of after one use. So what good is a robot spider? Like all super-mobile bots, the first projected use is recon in unsafe locations, like a chemical accident site or a collapsed building. With cameras and sensors on board, these machines could send back images and info about the area without having to put humans in danger. While Fraunhofer hasn't released production plans, you can see the spider-bot in action at the upcoming EuroMold 2011 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany.