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Climbing the walls: a look at a cockroach-like robot

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Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign are building a robot modeled on the lowly cockroach. If they're successful, their creation, called Biobot, will learn to scramble over treacherous terrain, crawl into crevices, and adapt to the loss of one or more of its legs-just like its juice-and-carapace cousin lurking under your sink. Such mechanical creatures could prove invaluable for such diverse tasks as conducting mining surveys in rugged mountains, working with hazardous nuclear materials, or even exploring distant planets. Currently, they have an 8 inch high, 22 inch long aluminum prototype, 31 inches long with legs extended called Protobot that can stand on its own and resist perturbation. The team also has computer simulations for modeling the behavior of both the biological and mechanical creatures. In coming months, before they scale their design to the full size 4 foot long Biobot, they hope to have the robot walking and then walking adaptively

Published in:

IEEE Expert  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 1995

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