Engineers have created a robotic cockroach that cannot be crushed

Engineers have created a robotic cockroach that cannot be crushed
Engineers have created a robotic cockroach that cannot be crushed

The robot is the size of a postage stamp and is capable of supporting a million times its own weight.


A huge number of developments by engineers are known to be inspired by nature. One of the most successful models for mini-robots is locusts. But cockroaches also turned out to be excellent models for the flight of engineering thought: they are fast, dexterous and have a fairly durable shell. But it's still pretty easy to crush them.

Experts from the universities of Tsinghua, Behain (China) and California were inspired by this particular insect, but improved its natural characteristics by creating a robot cockroach. The robot weighs less than one tenth of a gram and is able to withstand when a person weighing about 60 kilograms steps on it. This sets it apart from most miniature robots, which are very fragile. Details of the development are published in the journal Science Robotics.

In appearance, the creation of engineers looks like a rectangular piece of metal. This is partly true: the secret of the robot's resistance to stress lies in the simplicity of its design. It is made from a thin sheet of polyvinylidene difluoride, a piezoelectric material that expands and contracts when exposed to alternating current. Thanks to this compression-expansion, as well as the front leg and the elastic polymer layer, the robot moves, bending and pushing itself forward at a speed of 20 centimeters per second.

He is also able to climb gentle slopes, overcome obstacles from small pipes and even carry loads that weigh six times his own, such as peanuts. For now, the bot is tied to a power source, but in the future, as the developers plan, it will run on a tiny battery. According to engineers, such robots can be useful for exploring inaccessible places of disasters and catastrophes: they are maneuverable, fast and reliable.

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