Cockroaches to the rescue


The recent earthquakes in Nepal or the floods in Chennai witnessed the fury of mother nature at her uncompromising best. The disasters were accompanied with full blown destruction that took days and months to reclaim.

Scientists have been studying mechanics to improve rescue measures after a disaster occurs.

Have you ever stomped a roach, just to have it run away unscathed? Or seen one disappear into an impossibly small crack?

The cockroach can squeeze through a crack the height of two stacked pennies in about a second.

Robert Full and Kaushik Jayaram at Berkeley built tiny tunnels and used a roach-squishing machine to test the animals’ limits.

“We find them just as disgusting and revolting as everybody else,” says Robert Full, but the scientists also thinks of these creatures as amazing. They intend to design roachy robots that can squeeze and scuttle like the real ones. They’ve been inspired by the exoskeletons of the American cockroach with a design similar to folded origami.

“Their idea to create a “soft” robot out of deformable “hard” parts is great, and should transform how we think of creating all-terrain robots,” says Kaushik Jayaram