Charlie and Billy are cute, smartphone-controlled bots

An Israeli engineer designs a pair of bio-inspired, 3D-printed hexapod robots. 

If you’ve ever stopped by one of our Maker Faire booths, then you surely know our love for hexapod robots. Just ask “Wizard of Make” Bob Martin. Inspired by UC-Berkeley’s recent STAR project, Israel-based Maker Jonathan Spitz recently created a 3D-printed, blue beetle-like bot named Billy.


The proof-of-concept is not only comprised of 3D-printed parts, but is powered by an an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4), a pair of LiPo batteries and dual DC motors. Billy can be controlled using a joystick smartphone app via a built-in Bluetooth module, while his two different sets of legs — straight and spiral — allow him to navigate any terrain.

Shortly after the success of his first build, Spitz decided to develop a second working prototype. Charlie is 3D-printed, cricket-esque hexapod robot that can also be controlled via a mobile device. Impressively, Billy’s smaller and smarter sibling is capable of walking upside down (if he ever flips), climbing over objects of his size, as well as maneuvering up slopes as steep as 45 degrees. The latest iteration of the bot is driven by an Arduino Micro, which receives commands through Bluetooth. The ATmega32U4 based board relays signals to two “baby orangutan” microprocessors that control Charlie’s four motors, which of course, are used for strolling and sprawling.

While Billy consists of 20 parts, Charlie’s 38 different components will require a little longer to assemble. Interested in learning more about the bot brothers? Head on over to their official page here. Meanwhile, watch them in action above!

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