The hated cockroach has been the scourge of restaurants and big cities throughout history. But now a clever roboticist may have finally found a use for the pests by developing a way to mimic their legendary crawling speed.
Berkeley Ph.D. student Duncan Haldane wanted to explore the benefits of creating bio-inspired mechanisms to increase the terrestrial locomotion of robots. His research resulted in the creation of the VELOCIRoACH, a tiny robot that, according to Haldane, is the fastest running robot to date, relative to size. Weighing just 30 grams, the 10-centimeter-long hexapedal millirobot can travel as fast as 26 body lengths per second.
The key to the robot's speed is the way its legs are designed like a real cockroach's, allowing the VELOCIRoACH's legs to make contact with the ground at a rate of roughly 15 times per second. And get ready for the real creep out factor, the VELOCIRoACH even mimics the way a real cockroach stops and starts in rapid bursts to move around or over obstacles, always keeping at least three legs on the ground.
You can see the VELOCIRoACH in action in the video below.