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This uncrushable robot just wants to rescue you

Cockroach-inspired robot designed at UC Berkeley

New cockroach inspired robot designed by UC Berkeley professors built to move while under compression. GIF Credit: MIT Technology Review.

Two researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a robot that took its inspiration from a cockroach.

In a paper published on February 8th, Robert Full and Kaushik Jayaram explain how the malleability of a cockroach exoskeleton which allows for movement in compressed spaces can be applied in robotics. They then built a device–a compressible robot with articulated mechanisms (CRAM)–from several folding exoskeleton-like plates. They speculate that its malleability and strength make it ideal for exploring collapsed buildings (like in a rescue scenario).

This is made possible through the use of flexible polymers used in applications like Soft Robotics and Empire Robotics that sell soft grippers which allow for precise manipulation of objects. (Click here for a fun example from Empire’s Versaball playing beer pong.)

For more information, check out this article from the MIT Technology Review or click the GIF above.