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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: Scientist builds Robo-roach to help find trapped survivors in disaster zones

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Scientist builds Robo-roach to help find trapped survivors in disaster zones

Scientist have developed a new robot inspired by cockroaches 'the ultimate survivors, capable of squeezing into any tight space uninvited.

The palm-sized robot has a similarly tough but flexible exoskeleton to the much-maligned insect, is ideally suited to scurrying rapidly through tightly-packed debris.

Its soft legs and articulated shell allow it to compress to more than half its size, so it could squeeze through the narrowest of cracks.

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This would allow rescue workers to find and reach survivors stuck in confirmed spaces beneath collapsed buildings.

Two researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Integrative Biology studied cockroaches as they developed the robot.

They examined in particular how their rigid but jointed exoskeletons allows the insects to invade almost any space.

'Our discoveries from cockroaches inspired the design of a soft, legged hexapod robot named "compressible robot with articulated mechanisms" (CRAM) that we built using laser-cutting, laminating, and the folding of exoskeletal-like plates,' said Kaushik Jayaram and Robert Full, from the University of California's Department of Integrative Biology who conducted the study.

To measure the limits of the insects' abilities, the two reserachersconstructed an obstacle course for American cockroaches.

They found they are capable of slipping through a space smaller than a quarter of their standing body height in less than one second. They do this by compressing their exoskeleton.

While the cockroach robot is only a prototype, the technology could go a long way in saving the lives of those trapped in the wreckage following devastating large scale incidents and natural disasters such as the earthquake that hit Taiwan last week.

More than 125 people were trapped beneath rubble that was previously a block of flats in Tainan, Taiwan, before the powerful quake struck the southern part of the island on Saturday.

The death toll for the 6.4 magnitude earthquake has reached 24, with 22 of the fatalities stemming by the collapsed block of flats.

Source: Dailymail

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