Project Profile

Goals of the project

MantisBot is a part of an attempt to improve legged locomotion, and help better understand how networks of biologically-inspired neurons can be leveraged for use. By creating a robot that is kinematically similar to the robot, we now have a tool to test new ideas for adaptive and biologically-inspired control. 

Nature of the Collaboration

Nick and myself worked closely together in the later stages of the project to ensure the hardware and software (which were developed simultaneously) would be compatible. This work is also closely tied to work done with praying mantises in Dr. Ritzmann’s biology lab at Case Western Reserve Universities. 


Manufacturing, coding, machining, CAD software, FEA, Experiment Design, Analog Circuitry


Arduino, 3D printer, Laser Cutter, Mill, Soldering Iron


MantisBot is the next in a long line of insect-inspired robots to come out of Case’s Biologically Inspired Robotics lab. The SCASM project (which predates my time in the lab) implemented the concept of MantisBot on a single standalone leg. The development of MantisBot mirrored this in that a single leg was created to specification and tested for load capabilities and sensor abilities before the rest were manufactured. 


Mechanically I worked from the back, forward with each individual leg, ensuring that each worked as it was manufactured. In June the final design for the full machine was finalized in software. In late August the full robot was assembled. In October the electronics structure was complete and in November the robot stood on its own for the first time.  

Challenges encountered

One of our DC motors was rated to have sufficient torque, however, I neglected to verify the strength of its plastic casing, which was crucial for the structure of the robot. On one of our first tests the motor was strong enough, but the casing was not and it broke. The experience taught me that you’ll always forget to think of something, so the more attention to detail the better. Additionally, the entire process really taught me the importance of organization. Organization of parts, designs, calculations, code, and data are all crucial when dealing with such a complex system.

Major outcomes

Ongoing – publications to come. 

Innovations, impact and successes

Ongoing – publications to come.