Cockroaches are gross to lots of people. But not to a group of robotic engineers that's part of partnership between UC Berkeley and Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute. Where other folks are disgusted, they're inspired. In fact, their latest robot is built in the form of a roach.
"Most of the robots at this particular small scale are very fragile. If you step on them, you pretty much destroy the robot,” said Liwei Lin, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study describing the robot, in a press release.
But not robo-roach.
“A cockroach is a very strong insect,” said Junwen Zhong, a member of the team. “A cockroach can survive in a lot of critical environments. They are fast and flexible, and they are very difficult to kill. Even when you step on it.”
The roach robot weighs less than a tenth of a gram and still works after an attempted squish by someone weighing up to around 130 pounds. It also moves 20 times its body length in a single second.