How American Cockroach Inspired a Robot that Works Wonders

Do you know that the American cockroach can squeeze themselves in crevices that are 1/10in wide? Also, do you know that they can run at high speed while inside the crevice? The American cockroach has been known to squeeze itself quickly through cracks and crevices. It can go through the tiniest joints literally in less than a second. It can also can run on 2 legs and achieve a speed of 5 ft/s which is basically 50 times it’s body length.

A study at UC Berkeley have shown that the American cockroach can run fast through a ¼ in gap the same way it would in a ½ in wide gap. It does this by reorienting it’s legs out to the side. The roaches were filmed with a high-speed camera and they ran at full speed through plates placed ¼ in a part. The researchers also found that the highly motivated roaches could squeeze themselves in 1/10 in slit. Also friction is a key factor that helps the roach move forward faster. The research found that the roaches must have enough friction to push forward and not too much to slow it down.

The most amazing thing about this study is that the American cockroach can withstand forces 900 times its body weight without any injury.

Creation of a Robot Resembling American Cockroach

After studying the American cockroach, researchers at UC Berkeley designed a robot that splays its legs outside when squeezed from above. The robot was also covered with plastic on the top side to resemble the hard wings that protect the roach. This robot was palm-sized and it was cheap to make. It was able to penetrate and run in the openings ½ it size.

In the near future, this robot can be used by first responders to determine stability and safety of rubble as one of the researchers said. He continued to say that the robot could also be used to locate survivors.

Source: UC Berkeley

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