Robotic Insects… Attack!

Here we are to talk about the recent popularity of robotic insects. I know some of you won’t be too psyched by the fact that people are imitating robot behavior using robots, but you also have to admit that insects hold certain advantages as well, some including efficient and stable flight, ability to hide quickly, to suck blood, etc. So let’s jump right in.

Robot Cockroaches

“What in the world was that?” you might be asking. Well, this video showcases how cockroaches (and geckos) are especially good at escaping. Why is this important? Well, obviously, if the robot ever gets caught and almost destroyed with a newspaper, of course it makes sense for it to escape from danger.

This robot cockroaches is called DASH (Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod).  It can survive almost 92 foot drops simply with a bit of Velcro. This has huge potential, especially in search and rescue operations.

And now for another kind of cockroach robot.

Picture of a remote-controlled cockroach beside a quarter

It’s a cyborg cockroach, with a lightweight robotic suit for a living cockroach. It looks like a backpack, and is attached into the antennae internally through surgical means. This allows a controller to stimulate the roach’s antennae with an impulse, making it feel like there is something in front of it, and it will shift its direction.

One of the main reasons why they used real cockroaches instead of making a whole new robot like the one above is that real cockroaches have both a locomotive system and a run-away system already in place. This is more useful in volatile situations where it’s necessary for the cockroach to escape detection in the real world.

Scientists believe that the cyborg cockroach can be used to rescue earthquake survivors. Literally anything lightweight can be attached to the cockroach’s back, including cameras, and because of its wireless properties, the robotic backpack also transmits signals and cries for help no matter where it is.

The only hindrance is to find a controller who wants to move a robotic cockroach around, and who can always be within range of the wireless signal. But that shouldn’t be a problem for long.

Cyborg Cockroach

Mobee, Bee Robot

robot bee

What is this, you ask? It’s a new nanobot, called Mobee.

Mobee is probably very similar to a lot of other nanobots that we’ve seen; it can fly in formation, has wings that allow efficient flight, etc. But that’s not the point here.

It’s a really special robot, not because of what it can do, but how it’s made.  Mobee is unique in that it can be mass-produced extremely quickly.

You see, Mobee’s creation was modeled after a pop-up book. First, construction shapes are made using a laser, and many parts are put together. When the actual robot is created, it pops-up almost instantaneously. It’s really cool!

And if you want a more detailed video, here!

Hovering Ornithopter

This cool robot is a flying helicopter insect-like robot. Similar to the previous robot, this robot is unique not in that it flies, but in how it was made.

Traditionally, the wings of such an ornithopter have been notoriously difficult to manufacture. However, this time, by using 3-D printing, a team of roboticists at Cornell were able to perfect them. This also increases the convenience of making robots; it takes only a few minutes to produce such complex wings perfectly.

So far, the robot can fly untethered for around 85 seconds, and requires stabilizer sails above and below the wings as well. But the possibilities can really go any direction. This robot shows that with 3-D printing, we can go farther than ever before, with more precise and complex parts, building up to much larger robots.

And here is the end for our spread today! Don’t let all these creepy crawlies scare you though. Be glad that we can utilize all the benefits of insects without having to deal with them personally.

Sorry for all of you who have entomophobia, though.


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