Climbing Robot Cockroach Is Creepy Cool (Video)

climbing cockroach image
Image via YouTube video screengrab

The timing couldn't be better, what with Halloween quickly approaching. The mad scientists over at UC Berkeley have come up with a robot inspired by cockroaches that can climb cloth. It is definitely an act of biomimicry that is cool, but creepy, especially when you see how fast this thing can shimmy up a sheet. Called CLASH, the roboroach is four inches long, weighs 15 grams, and its four legs can move at a rate of 34 strides per second. That means it can move nearly 10 inches per second. Yeesh!

IEEE Spectrum reports, "Part of the reason that CLASH can scramble around so fast is that it's small and lightweight with a simple, but clever, design... The actual gripping and climbing technique is integrated into the beautiful series of linkages that connect CLASH's legs to its motor and to each other, making the mechanism completely passive all the way from initial grip to retraction. The battery and electronics are all onboard, and are located in the tail to help keep the robot balanced."

The researchers are working on making CLASH able to turn, as well as move on horizontal surfaces -- and possibly also move on a variety of surface textures other than fabric by changing out the gripping mechanisms on the toes.

Cockroaches are actually quite the inspiration for robotics, offering insight into better ways for machines to scamper, jump, and even grip with robotic hands. Biomimicry, FTW!

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Tags: Concepts & Prototypes | Electronics | Gadgets


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