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Watch Out for This Robotic Rolling Spider

After seeing the BionicWheelBot—an electronic abomination meant to mimic the Moroccan flic-flac spider—I’m uncertain as to whether or not I welcome our new robot overlords. Especially when they look like horrifying electronic hellbugs born from our collective nightmares.

(This is best experienced with the sound on—unless you really hate clicking noises.)

Like the flic-flac—which is also disconcertingly referred to as the cartwheeling spider, or, less scarily, by its scientific name Cebrennus rechenbergi—the BionicWheelBot’s spindly legs allow it to both walk and roll. But the BionicWheelBot is a lot less herky-jerky (to use the scientific term) in its spinning movements, turning itself from spider-esque into what’s basically an eight-limbed wheel with six legs to move, two legs to brake, and the ability to turn back into its spider-esque form immediately before catching up to you.

Oh, and it can do somersaults, which is in no way horrifying.

After discovering the flic-flac in 2008, bionics professor Professor Ingo Rechenberg (Cebrennus rechenbergi’s namesake) began studying the its movements, hoping to engineer robots that could navigate rough terrain. He partnered with Festo’s bionics team, and together, they’ve accomplished the goal.

Creepy as it may be, the BionicWheelBot is undeniably impressive, and it’s not the first time Festo’s created something awesome. Their YouTube channel features a whole host of accomplishments in medicine, prosthetics, education, and more bionic creatures (including, but not limited to, ants and a kangaroo).

Most recently, Festo also engineered the BionicFlyingFox, which is significantly more adorable and less threatening than the BionicWheelBot.

Still, take precaution if you see one of these things in the wild—there’s a good chance it’s faster and maybe even smarter than you.

Which creature great or small would make the best robot? Let us know in the comments!

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Images: Festo

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