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(click for hi-res)

iC Hexapod

Matt Denton
Aluminium, acrylic, servo motors, control electronics, custom software

iC is a hexapod (six-legged) robot that can spot people's faces in a crowd, follow them around, interact with them and capture their image. Its head contains a lens that zooms in and out and photo blink shutter, while all the time searching for a human face. When it sees one, it locks on and tracks it. The 'face' of the iC robot visibly follows the face of the human that is looking back at it. The robot then takes a picture of the subject and uploads it directly to its website (

iC can find multiple faces in a crowd and will usually latch on to the largest first and, once it has taken and published a picture of it, move to the next-largest face and so on. Each of iC's six legs has three servos. It also has two servos to move its head, one to work the photo blink shutter and a stepper motor to work a zoom lens. Every servo is connected to an on-board processor (a 'p.Brain') which controls all of the leg and body locomotion functions. A secondary computer (a 'CvPC'), connected to the CCD eye, is used for vision and communicates with the p.Brain via a serial link.

Matt Denton is a kinetic artist and animatronic designer specialising in hexapod robots, control systems and animatronics for film and TV. He was chief technical consultant at Kinetica (London), has collaborated with Dante Leonelli and has exhibited at Monster Mash (London). His commercial credits range from the lipsynching baby in Massive Attack's Teardrop (1998) video to the design, manufacture and control of various other-worldly creatures in Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban (2003), Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (2004) and In The Night Garden (2006). He is 35 and based in Winchester, England.

Acknowledgements: Products (inc. p.Brain, CvPC) and services (inc. CNC Routing) from Micromagic Systems, and OpenCV library from Intel.

iC Hexapod photo: Nathan Gallagher

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