Running roaches resolutely ram right-angles for rapid reorientation

By Seriously Science | February 20, 2018 6:00 am

We here at Seriously, Science? really respect roaches. Not only do rambling roaches require receivers to run ’round roadblocks, but recently, researchers reproduced resourceful running of roaches to rapidly reorient running robots by ramming right into restrictions rather than retarding and reorienting. Never mind, just watch these videos of cockroaches running into things. It will help you relax.

Transition by head-on collision: mechanically mediated manoeuvres in cockroaches and small robots.

“Exceptional performance is often considered to be elegant and free of ‘errors’ or missteps. During the most extreme escape behaviours, neural control can approach or exceed its operating limits in response time and bandwidth. Here we show that small, rapid running cockroaches with robust exoskeletons select head-on collisions with obstacles to maintain the fastest escape speeds possible to transition up a vertical wall. Instead of avoidance, animals use their passive body shape and compliance to negotiate challenging environments. Cockroaches running at over 1 m or 50 body lengths per second transition from the floor to a vertical wall within 75 ms by using their head like an automobile bumper, mechanically mediating the manoeuvre. Inspired by the animal’s behaviour, we demonstrate a passive, high-speed, mechanically mediated vertical transitions with a small, palm-sized legged robot. By creating a collision model for animal and human materials, we suggest a size dependence favouring mechanical mediation below 1 kg that we term the ‘Haldane limit’. Relying on the mechanical control offered by soft exoskeletons represents a paradigm shift for understanding the control of small animals and the next generation of running, climbing and flying robots where the use of the body can off-load the demand for rapid sensing and actuation.”

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An unusual finding during screening colonoscopy: a cockroach!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals

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Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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