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Earthquake rescues could be made safer and faster with a new robot being developed at UC Berkeley. The search for a safer way to enter collapsed structures has led to a mechanical cockroach. This robot could one day assist in post-earthquake search and rescue.
"In very mass quantities, you could think about making tens of thousands of them. Because, if you can save the rescuers from being endangered and find the survivors, having disposable robots is really worthwhile," said Fearing.
The secret sauce is not the electronics though, it's the structure to run like a cockroach, even to climb obstacles. The manufacturing process was pioneered by Cal engineering students. Using a laser cutter, Birkmeyer can design and make a new robot in an hour out of cardboard. Made out of cardboard, it can survive a fall from a 10-story building.
"You can throw it potentially from any height. It can hit concrete and survive and run away," said Birkmeyer. It can run away at five feet per second via remote control. Holding one isn't like holding a robot, it's like holding a bird.
We give robots all the credit for being our one day overlords, but if you base world domination potential on who is busting out the babies, we'd have to go with cockroaches. So we're really not too surprised to see them both joining forces to create a super being: the Robot Zombie Cockroach. A research team at Tokyo University is making these bio-bots by lopping off the antennae of regular roaches and replacing them with pulse-emitting electrodes.