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:3/15/2016)... Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University ... University, announced today the formation of Neteera Technologies ... biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its first round ... Neteera,s ... from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy biometric identification, ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... March 11, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) - ... Picture is available at AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - ... be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will ... at CeBIT in Hanover next week.   ... will be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... Pa. , March 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing its biometric ... San Diego to help identify certain non-U.S. ... . The test, designed to help determine the efficiency ... environment, began in February and will run until May 2016. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... 26, 2016 Despite the volatility that ... this space. Today,s pre-market research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the investor ... (NASDAQ: RDUS ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: ... and Five Prime Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ). ... http://www.activewallst.com/ On Wednesday, shares ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... FireflySci cuvettes are used in leading laboratories all over the globe. Their cute ... In addition to manufacturing awesome cuvettes, FireflySci makes spectrophotometer calibration standards that never ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... The Ankle Plating System 3 and ... address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This system marks Acumed's continued ... 3 is composed of seven plate families that span the lateral, medial, and ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Scientists at ... line options being tried for mesothelioma may be hampering the research that could lead ... research. Click here to read it now. , The team evaluated 98 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: