Speedy cockroach robot can save lives

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

VelociRoACH mimics one of the world’s most hated pests in order to save lives

Being one of the toughest and fastest insects in the world, the American cockroach is often considered a pest, and many people pay big bucks just to keep them out of their homes. But don’t stomp on the icky little creatures just yet, because one day they may be responsible for saving your life.

Veliciroach
VeliciRoACH is one of the world’s fastest robots.
Image via inhabitat.

Modeled after the disgusting roach itself, the creepy crawly cockroach robot can scurry across the floor at 2.7 meters per second, meaning that in one second, it can skitter 26 times the length of its body, making it one of the fastest robots in the world.

 At 4-inches long, the robot, called VelociRoACH was specifically designed to save lives. After studying the American cockroach, scientists at the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley built their creation to be similar to the real thing- small, tough and lightning fast. Just like a living, breathing cockroach, the robot’s thin, C-shaped legs act as springs as they hit the ground 15 times per second.

Because of its size and speed, the six-legged ‘bot is able to squeeze into small spaces that are too dangerous or difficult for rescue personnel to reach. By entering destroyed buildings or homes, the robot can search for people who might be hurt inside, and deliver the information and data back to its source.

So the next time you see a cockroach scuttle by, leave it be, because it just might be on a life-saving mission.

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