Tags: cockroach | robot | search | rescue | tight | spaces

Cockroach Robot Slips by Tight Spaces, Could Aid in Search and Rescue

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 08:08 AM

A new robot built in a California lab mimics the common cockroach in order to squeeze through tight spaces — a trait useful for search and rescue.

Led by postdoctoral researcher Chen Li at the University of California, Berkeley, a team of engineers began their development by using high-definition cameras to study the discoid cockroach as it navigated through a thicket of grass-like obstacles.

As the team explained in its report published Tuesday in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, they then devised two different robots to test in the same obstacle course.

Both of the two robots were equipped with six roach-like legs, however one was rectangular shaped, and the other disc-shaped.

The rectangular robot could not navigate the course, as its body shape was too bulky. Its corners were also easily snagged by obstacles.

The disc-shaped robot, however, was able to slip through tight spaces using its shell as a sort of guide rail — just like real cockroaches.

Neither of the robots had obstacle-sensing systems on board, and the researchers hope that combining the ellipsoidal shape with sensor systems will make for future robots highly skilled for search and rescue, precision agriculture, and other applications.

"The majority of robots deal with obstacles by avoiding them — often using sensors to map out the environment and heavy computation to plan a safe path to go around obstacles. This approach has been very successful (for example, Google's self-driving car). However, it does have limitations. First, when the terrain becomes densely cluttered, a clear path cannot be planned because obstacles are just too close to each other," Li explained in an email to CNBC.

"Our next steps will be to study a diversity of terrain and animal shapes to discover more terradynamic shapes, and even morphing shapes. These new concepts will enable terrestrial robots to go through various cluttered environments with minimal sensors and simple controls."

 


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A new robot built in a California lab mimics the common cockroach in order to squeeze through tight spaces — a trait useful for search and rescue.
cockroach, robot, search, rescue, tight, spaces
316
2015-08-24
Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 08:08 AM
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