I am quite sure that many of us have had this experience before – we walk into a dark, dank room, flip the light switch, and when our retinas have adjusted to the flood of light, we catch a quick glimpse of those nasty insects known as cockroaches, only to have them scurry somewhere under a ledge or into some other nook and cranny, hidden from our view. Scientists were inspired by this disappearing act of cockroaches, that they have come up with a robot that will mimic the way roaches and geckos pull off such Houdini-like stunts, with the possibility of exploring such technology to expand the use of it for search-and-rescue droids that boast animal-like maneuverability.
Basically, the scientists analyzed the way geckos in the lab run off ledges at full speed, performing a pendulum-like flip that has been dubbed “rapid inversion.” This is recreated in a robot, where modifications were made to their six-legged cockroach-inspired DASH — Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod — through the clever use of Velcro hooks being attached to its back legs. Once Velcro loops were glued near and underneath a ledge, DASH managed to perform a duplicate of the acrobatic move.
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