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US scientists have designed a small robot that may one day help locate people in the rubble of earthquakes, tornadoes or explosions. Interestingly, it looks almost like a cockroach.
The technology by the University of California, Berkeley was unveiled recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Lead researcher Kaushik Jayaram said, that these cockroaches is that they can run as fast through a quarter-inch (0.6 cm) gap as a half-inch (1.25 cm) gap, by reorienting their legs completely out to the side,” said who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.
They’re about half an inch tall when they run freely, but can squish their bodies to one-tenth of an inch.
The palm-sized robot, known as CRAM for compressible robot with articulated mechanisms is capped with a plastic shield, much like the wings on the back of a cockroach.
“In the event of an earthquake, first responders need to know if an area of rubble is stable and safe, but the challenge is, most robots can’t get into rubble.
Researchers say their robots are inexpensive to make, and they are working on various versions for real-world testing.
Funding for the research has come from the US Army Research Laboratory, as part of a collaboration with between industry and university partners.