Load Cell Amp Gives Robot Six Legs Up

Designed and manufactured by Micromagic Systems Robotics Ltd., the Mantis is a six-legged (hexapod) robot capable of traversing all terrain types as well as wading through water and mire. Not your DIY project or hobbyist item, Mantis is the stuff of sci-fi movies. Standing about 2.8-meters high and weighing just over two tons (1,900 kg), the robot is controllable manually or remotely via Wi-Fi.

Mantis, a six-legged robot stands a tad over nine feet tall and weighs 4188.783 pounds.


Having to reliably move that amount weight around on six legs through sometimes unpredictable environments and over irregular surfaces makes near unreasonable demands on the robot itself as well as its inner components. Sensors are probably the most critical components in any robot, let alone the legs of this two-ton bruiser.

For Mantis, its six legs provide both motion and weight support. To ensure reliability and robustness on both counts, Micromagic Systems employs a unique load cell amplifier designed by Mantracourt for the detection of forces on each leg.

Dubbed ICA2, the load cell amplifier works with custom load cells from Applied Measurements. As per Louise Stubbs, Marketing Co-coordinator at Mantracourt,  “These [load cells] are especially robust, compact and submersible, as the Mantis is required to travel over most types of terrain and even wade through water. Using our in-line Mantracourt ICA amplifiers in waterproof enclosures, the load cell outputs are monitored via a 0- to 5-Vdc signal to the control unit.”

The ICA2 is the load cell amp of choice, based on its reputation for high stability and fast response, performance qualities critical for the safe operation of Mantis. The ICA Series comes in six versions: ICA1H, 2H, 3H, the high-performance 4H and 6H, and the ICA5S with industrial stability.  According to Mantracourt, the ICAH range exhibits very low drift over wide operating temperatures and ATEX certification is pending on some versions.

Now that Mantis is standing tall and steady, perhaps we can set him up for a date with Pepper, the world's first robot that reads emotions. They say opposites attract! ~MD

Pepper is said to be the first robot capable of detecting human emotions

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