A Richmond, California man created his own unique robotic wheelchair and it resembles a spider, sort of like a cross between Dr. Loveless's machine in Wild Wild West and the baby doll head spider robot in Toy Story.
Mark Ellis was spotted rolling around the Maker Faire festival in San Mateo last weekend in his creation, which he calls "Playa Crawler." Fans of DIY Reddit threats immediately began documenting Ellis and his chair, and followed up with posts to Reddit. User Kendomarz said "I've never seen anything like this except in 'Monsters Inc.'"
https://t.co/E7FWMX8Q4u #Robot #Tech— Maynard (@Maynard) 1527175560.0
Ellis posted a video of himself riding his chair at Burning Man to Instagram, and detailed exactly how the chair was constructed and how it works. Ellis's Instagram followers flooded the video with supportive and often amazed comments.
Even online publishing giant UNILAD was fascinated with the chair.
"I had never seen anyone take [Jansen's] leg linkage and use it for a speedy personal vehicle and wondered if it was possible," Ellis told Samantha Cole of Vice. "I had seen it used on a machine called the Tin Spider which a large geodesic dome on top of the legs but it was too big for my purposes and it's very slow. I thought it would be a better use of my time and creativity to make something ambitious like the legs rather than decorate a golf cart or build something over a mostly unmodded electric wheelchair."
This Robotic, Spider-Legged Wheelchair Looks Like It Crawled Out of a Supervillain’s Workshop… https://t.co/o8CB2ixowz— HardTech.tv (@HardTech.tv) 1527170830.0
Ellis explained that his inspiration for the chair "came from a combination of his love of the art cars (known as Mutant Vehicles) at Burning Man, and the work of artist Theo Jansen and his walking Strandbeest sculptures."
"So far the Crawler only likes to walk on nice flat even hard surfaces like asphalt, concrete, or hard packed dirt which is very limiting for a normal wheelchair but for my purposes at Burning Man it's perfect."
Though he isn't a wheelchair user himself, Ellis plans on making more upgrades to Playa Crawler, which may include adding fenders, headlights, and a retractable shade. Made mostly of aluminum and steel rods, Playa Crawler runs on two 12 volt lead acid batteries and two brush motors taken from conventional wheelchairs. "I don't have much skill around electronics so I wanted to use something somewhat off the shelf that I knew would just work and then I built around those pieces," he said.