In the recent past, the world of technology has welcomed robots that have taken design inspiration from animal, reptiles, insects, or birds. We believe that these robots may probably find a place in the zoo of future. And the latest one to join the league is the robotic cockroach.
The roach-like mini robot is a brain child of researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. According to the research team, roaches can squish themselves to get into one-tenth-of-an-inch crevices. But once inside, they can run at high speed even when flattened in half. The scientists believe that this capability will help robotic roaches in carrying out search-and-rescue in rubble resulting from tornados, earthquakes and explosions.
The palm-sized prototype of this robot has been named CRAM, stands for Compressible Robot with Articulated Mechanisms.
Study leader Kaushik Jayaram, who recently obtained his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, said, “What’s impressive about these cockroaches is that they can run as fast through a quarter-inch gap as a half-inch gap, by reorienting their legs completely out to the side.”
Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, said, “This is only a prototype, but it shows the feasibility of a new direction using what we think are the most effective models for soft robots, that is, animals with exoskeletons,”
Full concluded by saying that “Insects are the most successful animals on earth. Because they intrude nearly everywhere, we should look to them for inspiration as to how to make a robot that can do the same.”
(Image: The University of California)