Some robot lovers believe that the most sophisticated robots are found in the humanoid form. However, the limitations of such robots can be seen when they begin walking. Many of them look like a human but they cannot move like one. There is a design problem while imitating humans, therefore, researchers suggest to copy insects to create a robot that can move flawlessly. A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Harvard University, and the Pennsylvania State University has suggested a unique model copy: cockroaches. The insects’ everyone tries to keep away from their homes are the main subject of their study.
The researchers say that the insects should not be judged by their appearance. The researchers also said that the cockroaches are capable of overcoming obstacles very fast. Instead of working hard to avoid the obstacles they just bump into them while moving fast and take advantage of their robust bodies they change their route. The study notes state, “Cockroaches running at over 1 m [meter] or 50 body lengths per second transition from the floor to a vertical wall within 75 ms [millisecond] by using their head like an automobile bumper, mechanically mediating the maneuver [sic].” The researchers are proposing a design similar to a cockroach and they demonstrated this using a small palm-sized, legged robot.
The robot which is designed after a cockroach is designed to be able to navigate a wall as well. The key to manufacture the robot is the soft exoskeleton that allows for any kind of movement. The researchers tell that this robot is capable to change the “next generation of running, climbing, and flying robots where the use of the body can off-load the demand for rapid sensing and actuation.” Instead of seeing the path ahead of the robot and adjusting its path accordingly, the robot crashes into the wall and then rolls around it. Just like a cockroach does. The robot overcomes the need to quickly observe the environment especially when it is moving at a fast speed. The study published by the researchers says that “by relying on the mechanics of the body to mediate maneuvers [sic].” The robot doesn’t depend on the sensors that control the robot’s movements. The researchers say that they have developed a machine that is robust even under harsh conditions. Just like humanoid robots, this idea is also inspired by nature. The cockroach robot has a strong built and is equipped to deal with tough terrain.