Photo of the Week -- Cartwheeling Flic-Flac Spider Inspires New Robot

by / May 6, 2014

During an expedition to Morocco in 2009, Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, a bionics expert at the Technical University of Berlin, discovered a spider that uses a cartwheel technique to escape danger.

And now, Rechenberg is using that arachnid -- called the flic-flac spider -- as a model for a 10-inch-long spider robot that moves in a similar fashion, RedOrbit reported.

This robot is called the Tabbot, from the Berber word for spider “Tabacha,” and it moves by walking or by performing somersaults. “This robot may be employed in agriculture, on the ocean floor or even on Mars,” Rechenberg told the media outlet. The embedded video shows both the Tannot robot and the flic-flac spider in action.

As for the flic-flac spider, the cartwheel maneuver can double its speed from 3.3 feet per second to 6.6 feet per second -- a move that uses so much energy, the spider only utilizes it as a last resort to escape predation.