Tiny robots shaped like animals have always been a big attraction for science fiction writers. Now, this sci-fi staple is coming to reality in the form of the JumpRoACH.
Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Instead of working on designs based on less disgusting animals, like flies or ants, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), in collaboration with researchers from Seoul National University, have developed small cockroach robots which feature a springing mechanism that enables them to jump many times their own height.
This mechanism is shaped like a diamond and features joints inspired by the working of knees. These joints are attached to a pulley system which provides it the required energy for jumping, through a DC motor.
The software is sophisticated enough to judge the distance and height of any obstacle before directing the exact amount of energy required for the jump.
In testing, it showcased the ability to jump to a height of 3 m (9.8 ft) easily, before landing perfectly on it’s feet.
In less than ideal conditions, if the robot falls on it’s side or back, it can still get upright, thanks to a small DC motor attached to its shell, which spreads the robot’s exterior and turns it in the proper position.
While there are plenty of people working of miniature robotics, but the obstacle clearing capacity of this robot is still light years ahead of it’s competition. With such technology becoming a reality, we can soon expect a whole swarm of such spy bots, running and jumping all over the world.