Cal brainiacs’ robot roach could save lives in quakes

A team of researchers at U.C. Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab has created a robot that imitates the movement of cockroaches. Its latest version, unveiled on Monday, could potentially help find survivors in the ruins of an earthquake.

Called the dynamic autonomous sprawled hexapod, or DASH, the robots were designed to survive falls and unstable conditions. Kevin Peterson, Paul Birkmeyer, and Professor Ron Fearing submitted the original paper on DASH in 2009. On Monday, the researchers, along with Professor Robert Dudley, released an update which introduced “DASH + Wings”.

The robot can move at 1.3 meters per second and climb 17 degree inclines. Watch the Smart Planet video above to see the roach in action.

While designing the wings element of the roach robot, the Cal team also shed light on the evolution of flight (such is the way with Berkeley brainiacs who we assume stumble across fascinating discoveries by the hour). Read about what happened when they added wings to the roach at UC Berkeley News Center.

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