Robot that moves like a roach, could find earthquake survivors
The latest creation from U.C. Berkeley's robotics researchers, DASH Plus Wings scampers along at 1.3 meters per second and climbs 17 degree inclines. SmartPlanet's Sumi Das get a close look at the mini-machine which also shed light on the evolution of flight in animals.
Man made robot points to glide then fly evolution?
>>Who would have guessed cockroaches could be so inspiring?
>>If you want to build a robot that could get anywhere, a cockroach is a pretty good model for that. They're also very fast; they can move very quickly and are very stable.
>>Researches at UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab modeled their creation "DASH" after the nimble insect and now they've developed "DASH plus Wings." The wings don't actually enable flight, but do give the robot a big boost.
>>We immediately noticed an increase in speed. It could go up higher inclines. It could survive falls and land on its legs. The original DASH robot could survive falls very well, but it didn't always land on its feet. But with the wings on it, it always lands on its feet so it can keep going after it lands.
>>The addition of wings not only improved the robots mobility, it offered a surprise benefit; it shed some light on the evolution of flight in animals. "DASH plus Wings" piqued the interest of a Berkeley biology professor.
>>He thought that this would be a great platform for investigating the evolution of flight because it's a robot that doesn't quite fly and so it's very similar to a bird that couldn't quite fly yet.
>>The researchers used the robot to explore the two main theories of how flight evolved; ground up versus trees down. Given that the addition of wings to "DASH" didn't enable flight, the investigation supported the trees down theory; that flight evolved from animals leaping from trees, gliding, and eventually learning to fly. Like those animals, the researchers want their robot to eventually fly and walk, allowing it to cover any type of terrain.
>>So it lets us get pretty much anywhere we want to go because if you can't get over an obstacle on the ground, you can simply take off in the air. Or if it's too gusty or windy in the air, you can fall down to the ground.
>>In fleets of 50 or 100, the robots could serve as search teams; entering unstable buildings after an earthquake for example.
>>A small cell phone camera could be placed in the robot. You could add a CO2 sensor; if you can detect CO2, you can detect a person breathing.
>>First, "DASH plus Wings" needs to be lighter and its wings need to create greater thrust. But there's little doubt it will evolve in time. For Smart Planet, I'm Sumi Das.