Inspired by cockroaches that can squeeze through tiny spaces, US scientists have designed a small robot that may one day help locate people in the rubble of earthquakes, tornadoes or explosions.
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.
The technology by the University of California, Berkeley was unveiled Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“These cockroaches is that they can run as fast through a quarter-inch (0.6 centimeter) gap as a half-inch (1.25 cm) gap, by reorienting their legs completely out to the side,” said lead researcher Kaushik Jayaram, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.
Researchers say their robots are inexpensive to make, and they are working on various versions for real-world testing.
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