Morphex Is A Robotic Ball That Will Play With Your Kids So You Don't Have To
A lot of parents can't help but feel a bit of guilt when they're too tired to play with their energetic, overly-enthusiastic children - something that's helped along by the fact that most kids don't really understand the concept of 'not right now.' One Norwegian inventor has dreamed up a rather novel solution to the problem: he's built a robot that can step in when he needs to step out.
Kare Halvorsen - who might just be a worthy contender for the title of "coolest dad ever" - has created a spherical, hexapodal robot which goes by the name of Morphex. The machine - which can either be controlled manually or programmed to evade anyone trying to chase it - consists of two halves, each of which is made up of six extendable legs. These legs are used to propel Morphex when it's rolled up into a ball, but also allow the robot to slowly scuttle about when rolling is impractical.
Halvorsen, who works as a consultant engineer for the Rogaland County Council in Western Norway, builds robots as a hobby on the side. Although he's received a great deal of praise for his creations, he doesn't seem particularly interested in any of the accolades he's received - nor is he terribly concerned with sales. Even though versions of his robots are being reproduced and sold in the United States, Halvorsen says he's honestly just doing it because it's what he enjoys.
"I only do it for hobby. I just set myself a challenge and then try to rise to it," he says. "As far as I know, I don't think anyone's made robots like this, so it has unique challenges for me as an engineer. It's the making of robots that interests me, although I guess somebody will eventually find an application that it will be useful for."
It's not just robotics that he's passionate about, either. Halvorsen describes his son as a significant motivator in his hobby. The boy, he says, positively loves his dad's inventions.
"My son is my biggest fan, and making the robots for him to play with is a big motivation," he explained. "He really loves them. Every day he wants one of them unpacked so he can play with it. His favorite is the one I call A-pod because it looks like an ant."
Halvorsen came up with the notion of building his own robots for his son when Torbjorn was given a Japanese toy as a present just after he was born. Looking at the gadget, Halvorsen was more than a little dismayed - "I can do better than that," he thought.
So he did.
Some parents keep their kids occupied with store-bought toys and electronics. Kare halvorsen decided to take a different approach. Because of the man's hobby, his three-year-old son will always have some cool new gadget to play with; no doubt the kid's going to be the envy of all his peers when he starts going to school.
I mean, come on. How many kids can say their dad builds them robots?