Ever Heard About That Cockroach, Which Saves Lives?
Two things you have probably noticed about interloping cockroaches is that they are fast and nearly invincible. While those features make the most people terrifying and scared. This idea inspired people of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied sciences (SEAS).
This project is led by Robert J. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied sciences at SEAS. The researchers in the Harvard Micro robotics laboratory have developed a centimetre-scale robot inspired by cockroaches.
The microrobot named HAMR is a versatile robot that can run at high speeds, jump, climb, turn sharply, carry payloads and fall from great distances without getting an injury.What makes this is an exciting development is that it’s possible to take the robot outside of the lab with an onboard battery, while maintaining high speeds and manoeuvrability.
Different from the previous versions, this robot doesn’t need a power source to function.
While that makes it a little slower than its predecessor, it also opens new possibilities in terms of freedom and movement.
Scientist believed that the most advanced robots always come in humanoid form, the limitations of such a form became clear, when this kind of robots begin to walk, they may look like human, but they hardly move like one.
There is a design problem with imitating humans; industrial devices like the microrobot, makes it harder for engineers to create, the Nano electronic components are hard to find, so the researchers figured out that when it comes to creating robots, who move without a problem, it’s better to imitate insects.
This Microrobot, is a quadrupedal robot that is inspired by cockroaches, having a similar size, mass, and body morphology to them. The tied versions of HAMR have previously been shown to run at speeds to 10 body lengths per second and can perform speed turning and dynamic jumping moves.
The ready-to-run robot weighs just 2.8 grams and is powered by an 8-mAh lithium-polymer battery. There is hope that it will be able to move autonomously but, for now, it must be controlled via a human operator, although this can be carried out wirelessly without an electronic device.
The next step for HAMR development is to add more sensors, capable of wirelessly transmitting data back to the host machine. The people at Harvard are very excited about this new technology and commercializing It, because it has a great potential for cost reduction and automation of some inspection tasks by opening new pathways in challenging environments and tight spaces.
This microrobot is designed to be able to navigate a wall. The key is the soft exoskeleton that allows a kind of movement that could change the next generation of running, climbing, and flying robots where the use of the body can off-load the demand for rapid sensing and actuation.
Instead of sensing the path and adjusting its movement as required, microrobot crashes into a wall and then rolls around it, the same way a cockroach would. This way, the robot overcomes the need to quickly anticipate the environment ahead of it, especially when it’s moving fast.
Study says that ‘’by relying on the mechanics of the body to mediate manoeuvres, rather than on sensors that control the robot’s movement, the researcher were able to devise a machine that’s robust even under extreme conditions, like the idea behind humanoid robots, this design is inspired by nature, except a cockroach like robot is more equipped to handle tougher terrain".
In the future it’s expected that the microrobot can save lives. They can help in rough and dangerous places for rescue-operations and search operations.