Thinking Tech

Giant Mondo Spider appears at Google developer conference

Posting in Energy

Forget the Tesla and the Chevy Volt -- the spider is electric too, and it can walk.

Check out this video of an 8-legged, 1,700-pound, zero-emission steel spider walking around Moscone Center last night at Google I/O.Boy, did I want to be the driver.

The spider was not the only robot there. Google uses robots as team-building and motivational tools, according to a pair of Google engineers who gave a very well attended talk called "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The Joys of Engineering Leadership," and some of the robots at the conference used Google technology.

Mondo Spider, for instance, has a Google Android App that locates the spider and feeds Tweets about it to the spider's very own Twitter page.

The spider's main claim to fame, though, is that it's the first electric vehicle that can walk. In January, it had its gasoline engine replaced with an electronic drive train, and in February the company Day4 Energy donated four 155-Watt solar panels to Mondo Spider's trailer in Vancouver so it can recharge.

Google has been trying to cut its carbon emissions as a company for several years, and its venture arm has invested in several clean tech startups, but that's not why the spider was at the conference, according to its creators.

Instead, after two days of "deep technical content, focused on building the next generation of web, mobile and enterprise applications with Google..The Mondo Spider presence will provide a welcome break for attendees and inspire them to rethink energy through art!"

Enjoy.

Deborah Gage

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Deborah Gage has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Minnesota Public Radio, Baseline and various magazines and newspapers. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure