Most robots rely on sensors to detect and move around objects in their path, which can take time. But what if they could change direction or climb objects in the blink of an eye.
One of the most common household pests could offer a perfect blueprint.
Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley, think they may have cracked the secret to lightning-fast-reactions– thanks to the ubiquitous cockroaches– crash-test of cockroaches yielded positive results.
“When we observed videos at slow speed we found that roaches would rapidly run towards the wall and basically collide into it head-on. and continue cycling their legs to climb up the wall,” said lead researcher Kaushik Jayaram.
Scientists have developed a six-legged robot with a soft exoskeleton, just like a cockroach.
It’s called DASH and harnesses the momentum of a head-on crash to tip itself upward and climb a wall on its sticky-pad toes.
It does all these without the need for complex and expensive sensors or taking valuable time to compute its next steps which could make it well suited to exploring hazardous areas after natural disasters.
“You need the robot to be able to run on the ground, may be climb up a wall, get over obstacles, crawl inyo spaces and so we really need a robot which is capable of not just doing one thing but many of these things together.
Researchers say this high speed pest could provide template for a next generation of robots.
“You can think about incorporating all the computation in the structure of the robot, so basically like designing a body smartly so that it can absorb energy and then perform your behavior instead of having to rely on some sensor to tell you where the wall is and how to make the transition,” the lead researcher told Reuters.
Although unpopular with homeowners cockroaches may help develop the future of robotics– and are already dubbed by scientists as their ‘bio-inspiration’.