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Video: Robot Has Roach-Like Reflexes
6/28/2012

High-speed 180-degree flips performed by a cockroach (a), a house gecko (b), and the cockroach-inspired DASH robot (c).   (Source: PLoS ONE)
High-speed 180-degree flips performed by a cockroach (a), a house gecko (b), and the cockroach-inspired DASH robot (c).
(Source: PLoS ONE)

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Beth Stackpole
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Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Beth Stackpole   6/28/2012 6:49:08 AM
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I suppose one should get excited about the idea of copying the agility of a roach and this is definitely a very cool development, but ... Why do all these robots seem to borrow traits from such disgusting creatures. I was getting creeped out just watching the robot's movements. Reminded me of a bad horror movie, or wose, one of my old apartments in college. Yuck!

Nancy Golden
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Nancy Golden   6/28/2012 9:47:48 AM
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I agree, Beth - while the technology is cool, talking about how it imitates roaches is not exactly a good marketing strategy, at least from my perspective. Makes me want to grab a shoe and squash it!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   6/28/2012 12:54:05 PM
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I'm with you two: ecchh! But that's only my response to the bug part. My response to the robot part was: wow! And the second and third videos in the sequence, of the gecko and the DASH robot, aren't nearly as creepy. Although the DASH robot's movements are very close to a cockroach's.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   6/28/2012 1:30:32 PM
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Congrats on another wonderful article about taking abilities in the natural world and incorporating them into robotic technology. The video really says it all. Also, it's nice to see a development outside of military research. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   6/28/2012 1:43:57 PM
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Thanks, Rob. I found it especially interesting that nature had solved the same problem in a similar way in both a reptile and an insect. It's true that this DASH is aimed at first responder apps, but there's usually a lot of crossover between those and military apps for reconnaissance and surveillance activities. But I agree, it's good to see technology adapted to multiple uses in both civilian and military arenas.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   6/28/2012 2:01:59 PM
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Also, this maneuver is particularly interesting. It nearly defies gravity. I'd be interested to know whether they solved this by the quick swing of the cylindrical physical movement or whether there was some mild adhesive in the "foot" that kept both the creature and the robot from falling.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Nancy Golden   6/28/2012 2:37:37 PM
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After I got over my initial desire to run and scream "Phil, come kill this bug!" I was wondering the same thing, Rob. I bet it is a combination of the two...

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   6/28/2012 3:27:34 PM
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It was quite something to see in the video, the mition that seemed to defy gravity. In all three instances, there seemed to be a velocity in the turn that seemed to keep the creature or robot from spinning off altogether. So perhaps the trick has to do with motion.

Dozer789
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Wow
Dozer789   6/28/2012 6:43:01 PM
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That is very cool, what good is it? Could they make them 500% bigger? That could come in very handy. (i dont know what but i could probably thik of something)

     Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Charles Murray
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Charles Murray   6/28/2012 7:55:34 PM
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Ann: I'm beginning to worry that all the mimicry that you've been writing about is going to result in a class of robots that will incorporate all the best capabilities of bugs and animals. In a hundred years, I don't think we'll be able to beat robots at anything. At the very least, this is fodder for a great sci-fi movie.

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