Cockroach Movement Can Advance Robotics
Cockroaches have been known to be one of hardiest and most annoying creatures around. Despite their repulsiveness, a team of researchers from University of California, Berkley studied cockroaches and explored the intracacies of their escape tactics for robotics.
Using hooks on their back legs the cockroaches are able to land upside down on a surface and escape human intervention. The behavior pattern is similar to lizards and other creatures with hooked toenails.
"Cockroaches continue to surprise us," said Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology who 15 years ago discovered that when cockroaches run rapidly, they rear up on their two hind legs like bipedal humans.
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"They have fast relay systems that allow them to dart away quickly in response to light or motion at speeds up to 50 body lengths per second, which is equivalent to a couple hundred miles per hour, if you scale up to the size of humans. This makes them incredibly good at escaping predators.
"The research has helped mechanical engineers and robotics experts understand how movement at such a small level works."Today, some robots are good at running, some at climbing, but very few are good at both or transitioning from one behavior to the other," he said.
"That's really the challenge now in robotics, to produce robots that can transition on complex surfaces and get into dangerous areas that first responders can't get into," said Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology who discovered that cockroaches rear up on their hind legs like humans when they need to run rapidly."
This behavior is an effective way to quickly move out of sight for small animals."