- A robot copies how cockroaches and geckos can disappear under ledges.
- The technique could lead to agile robots with animal-like maneuverability.
A robot that copies how cockroaches and geckos can disappear under ledges in the blink of an eye could lead to search-and-rescue droids with animal-like maneuverability, researchers say.
Scientists regularly look to nature for inspiration when designing robots, with the hope of learning from millions of years of evolution. Recent examples include droids that mimic the cheetah's stride or the legs of a velociraptor.
While monitoring a cockroach with high-speed video cameras to see how it crossed gaps while running at high speeds, "we were surprised to find the insect gone," said researcher Robert Full, an integrative biologist at the University of California at Berkeley.
"After searching, we discovered it upside-down under the ledge," Full said. "After close inspection of the video, we saw that the cockroach was using its legs as grappling hooks by engaging its claws at the tip of the ledge."