Robo-Roach to the Rescue?

TECHNOLOGY

Have you ever stomped a roach, just to have it skitter away unscathed? Now scientists know how they do that, and how to put it to good use. (Nat Geo Phenomena blog)

Browse through other ways scientists are studying nature for the latest technology.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Discussion Ideas

  • Take a look at the video above, from the good folks at UC Berkeley. Why are cockroaches are so hard to squish? (Not that we at Nat Geo would ever condone such a thing . . .)

 

  • What is biomimicry or biomimetics?
    • Biomimicry is the process of using models, systems, and elements of nature as a guide for developing new technology.

 

CRAM—Compressible Robot with Articulated Mechanisms—poses with its real-life inspiration. Photograph by Tom Libby, Kaushik Jayaram, and Pauline Jennings, courtesy Poly-PEDAL Lab at UC Berkeley

CRAM—Compressible Robot with Articulated Mechanisms—poses with its real-life inspiration.
Photograph by Tom Libby, Kaushik Jayaram, and Pauline Jennings, courtesy Poly-PEDAL Lab at UC Berkeley

  • CRAM (Compressible Robot with Articulated Mechanisms) is a biomimetic “soft robot” based on the new cockroach research. How was CRAM designed with a cockroach in mind? Cue the video to about 1:20 for some help.
    • Like a cockroach, CRAM has a segmented, pliable shell.
    • Like a cockroach, CRAM is able to move when compressed by using other parts of its legs, instead of its feet.

 

  • How might CRAM be used?

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: WATCH: Amazing Video Reveals Why Roaches Are So Hard to Squish

Berkeley News: Cockroach robots to the rescue!

(extra credit!) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Cockroaches traverse crevices, crawl rapidly in confined spaces, and inspire a soft, legged robot

UC Berkeley: Poly-PEDAL Lab (great space to crawl around!)

Nat Geo: Posts from the Biomimicry Institute

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s