Navigation Links
Cockroaches offer inspiration for running robots
Date:12/28/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. The sight of a cockroach scurrying for cover may be nauseating, but the insect is also a biological and engineering marvel, and is providing researchers at Oregon State University with what they call "bioinspiration" in a quest to build the world's first legged robot that is capable of running effortlessly over rough terrain.

If the engineers succeed, they may owe their success to what's being learned from these insects and other animals, such as the guinea hen, that have their own remarkable abilities.

The latest findings just published in the professional journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics outline how animals use their legs to manage energy storage and expenditure, and why this is so important for running stability. The work is being supported by the National Science Foundation.

"Humans can run, but frankly our capabilities are nothing compared to what insects and some other animals can do," said John Schmitt, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at OSU. "Cockroaches are incredible. They can run fast, turn on a dime, move easily over rough terrain, and react to perturbations faster than a nerve impulse can travel."

Within certain limitations, Schmitt said, cockroaches don't even have to think about running they just do it, with muscle action that is instinctive and doesn't require reflex control. That, in fact, is part of what the engineers are trying to achieve. Right now some robots have been built that can walk, but none of them can run as well as their animal counterparts. Even walking robots absorb far too much energy and computing power to be very useful.

"If we ever develop robots that can really run over rough ground, they can't afford to use so much of their computing abilities and energy demand to accomplish it," Schmitt said. "A cockroach doesn't think much about running, it just runs. And it only slows down about 20 percent when going over blocks that are three times higher than its hips. That's just remarkable, and an indication that their stability has to do with how they are built, rather than how they react."

If successful, Schmitt said, running robots could serve valuable roles in difficult jobs, such as military operations, law enforcement or space exploration. Related technology might also be applied to improve the function of prosthetic limbs for amputees, or serve other needs.

The OSU researchers are trying to identify some of the basic biological and mechanical principles that allow certain animals to run so well and effortlessly. A guinea hen, for instance, can change the length and angle of its spring-like legs to almost automatically adjust to an unexpected change in a ground surface as much as 40 percent of its hip height. That would be like a human running at full speed, stepping into a 16-inch-deep hole and never missing a beat.

Researchers are getting closer to their goal.

In a computer model, they've created a concept that would allow a running robot to recover from a change in ground surface almost as well as a guinea hen. They are studying how the interplay of concepts such as energy storage and expenditure, sensor and feedback requirements, and leg angles can produce recovery from such perturbations. Ultimately, a team of OSU engineers hopes to use knowledge such as this to actually build robots that can efficiently run over rough terrain without using significant computing power.

And some day, a robot instead of a human might be used to run into a dangerous area, check things out and report back for further instructions.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Schmitt
schmitjo@engr.oregonstate.edu
541-737-7035
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. IPM reduces cockroaches and allergens in schools
2. Fujitsu and IBM Offer Biometric Security Solution That Replaces Passwords With the Scan of an Employees Palm
3. Potential cancer drug may offer new hope for asthma patients
4. Synthetic biology offers new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration
5. Simple test could offer cheap solution to detecting landmines
6. Society of Interventional Radiology hosts oncology therapies Webinar, offers resources
7. Panasonic Offers U.are.U(R) Fingerprint Sensor From DigitalPersona on Stingray JS-950 Point-of-Sale Workstations
8. East African cichlid fish offer new understanding of genetic basis of sex determination
9. National new biology initiative offers potential for remarkable and far-reaching benefits
10. New book offers practical advice for unraveling the genetics of complex human diseases
11. Ancient oceans offer new insight into the origins of animal life
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ... of online age and identity verification solutions, announced today ... Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, ... Building and International Trade Center. Identity ... globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 19, 2017 The global military ... is marked by the presence of several large global ... by five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, ... for nearly 61% of the global military biometric market ... the global military biometrics market boast global presence, which ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer ... Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - ... to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Today, ... announced it has secured $2M in funding from an impressive group of investors, ... and SVG Thrive Fund. With this investment, 3Bar is broadening availability of its ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... After spending the past two years building a state-of-the-art ... GeneFo now offers this platform to healthcare stakeholders (hospitals, foundations, biopharma ... and data collection vis a vis their members, under their own ... of this offer. ... ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Any expert in stem cell research or stem cell medicine ... half a century. Despite their essential roles in human health and regenerative medicine, ... tags developed for this purpose also tag other, more abundant, non-stem tissue cells ( ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... and encrypted shopping cart. Now mobile responsive, the new website makes it easy ... or anywhere in between. Users can now find detailed product information, educational industry ...
Breaking Biology Technology: