AI News, Can a cockroach teach a robot how to scurry across rugged terrain?

Can a cockroach teach a robot how to scurry across rugged terrain?

In a crowded, windowless lab, scholars and students are coaxing the insects to share some crucial locomotion tips that could help future robotic vehicles traverse treacherous terrain.

But what earthly lifeform -- other than the one jokingly said to be able to survive even an atomic bomb blast -- is more likely to persist on dangerous alien landscape?

The team's early findings are the subject of two related research papers published in the Feb. 2 issue of the journal Bioinspiration &

The bugs contort their heads, torsos and legs until they find a way to get themselves over or across the obstacles in order to remain on course.

These videos can later be slowed down to help the researchers learn the precise travel tactics that small robots could use to surmount the same type of obstacles.

After carefully reviewing their bug videos to discover the underlying physics principles, the researchers added a 'tail' to help the robots replicate body positions that helped the real roaches get past the large bumps and gaps on the lab track.

This simple change increased the largest gap size that the robot could traverse by 50 percent and the largest bump size it could traverse by 75 percent.

'But as soon as I started working in the lab, I learned that it's actually very easy to work with them, and they're actually a very nice, fantastic model organism.

By studying cockroach locomotion, scientists learn how to build better, more mobile robots

When they turn up in pantries or restaurant kitchens, cockroaches are commonly despised as ugly, unhealthy pests.

In a crowded, windowless lab, scholars and students are coaxing the insects to share some crucial locomotion tips that could help future robotic vehicles traverse treacherous terrain.

These mimic the holes and barriers the roaches—a Central American species with bodies about two inches long—might encounter in their rugged natural habitat, typically a rainforest region cluttered with vegetation.

After carefully reviewing their bug videos to discover the underlying physics principles, the researchers added a 'tail' to help the robots replicate body positions that helped the real roaches get past the large bumps and gaps on the lab track.

This simple change increased the largest gap size that the robot could traverse by 50 percent and the largest bump size it could traverse by 75 percent.

'We're just beginning to understand how these critters move through a cluttered 3-D terrain where you have obstacles that are larger than or comparable to the animal or robot's size,' says Li, who has been working with cockroaches since 2012, when he became a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow studying animal locomotion.

Can a Cockroach Teach a Robot How to Scurry Across Rugged Terrain?

media reel: here When they turn up in family pantries or restaurant kitchens, cockroaches are commonly despised as ugly, unhealthy pests and are quickly killed.

In a crowded, windowless lab, scholars and students are coaxing the insects to share some crucial locomotion tips that could help future robotic vehicles traverse treacherous terrain.

The team’s early findings are the subject of two related research papers published here and here in the Feb. 2, 2018, issue of the journal Bioinspiration &

Inside the lab, cockroaches scurry along tracks laden with two types of obstacles: large “bumps” and equally large “gaps.” These mimic the holes and barriers that the roaches might have encountered in their rugged natural habitatth.

After carefully reviewing their bug videos to discover the underlying physics principles, the researchers added a “tail” to help the robots replicate body positions that helped the real roaches get past the large bumps and gaps on the lab track.

This simple change increased the largest gap size that the robot could traverse by 50 percent and the largest bump size it could traverse by 75 percent.

“But as soon as I started working in the lab, I learned that it’s actually very easy to work with them, and they’re actually a very nice, fantastic model organism.

So, they’re currently one of the main species in our lab, serving as a model system.” Co-authors on the journal article about traversal of large gaps were graduate students Changxin Yan and Ratan Othayoth and undergraduate Zhiyi Ren, all from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Cockroaches teach robots to clamber and scurry

By studying the pests as they clamber across chasms and over obstacles, roboticists hope to learn some of their locomotion secrets that they can then apply to new robot prototypes.

The bugs contort their heads, torsos, and legs until they find a way to get themselves over or across the obstacles in order to remain on course.

High-speed cameras capture the body and leg motions used by these roaches, a Central American species with bodies about 2 inches long.

The videos can later be slowed down to help researchers spot travel tactics that small robots could use to clear the same types of obstacles.

This simple change increased the largest gap size that the robot could traverse by 50 percent and the largest bump size it could conquer by 75 percent.

“We are just beginning to understand how these critters move through a cluttered 3D terrain where you have obstacles that are larger than or comparable to the animal or robot’s size,”

“But as soon as I started working in the lab, I learned that it’s actually very easy to work with them, and they’re actually a very nice, fantastic model organism.

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