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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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Iron
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.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Wow
Beth Stackpole   6/29/2012 6:43:32 AM
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I'm also curious about the size issue. The robots in the video are definitely too small to do much of anything beyond creep us out. I'm assuming the design is scalable and transferrable to a more robust version.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wow
Rob Spiegel   6/29/2012 2:05:04 PM
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I can see the use of these robots for surveilance in military situations. I can also see these robots as the eyes and ears in collapsed buildings after an earthquake.

Dozer789
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Re: Wow
Dozer789   6/29/2012 2:17:31 PM
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I think that could come in very handy Rob. Wouldnt they get stuck though? like what if they slipped of of something very slippery, how would you get at them?

     Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wow
Rob Spiegel   6/29/2012 3:59:41 PM
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I suppose in an emergency situation, you would lose some of these little guys. But I would also guess deployment would involve a number of these robots to create an accurate picture of what's around the corner or under rubble.

Dozer789
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Re: Wow
Dozer789   6/29/2012 5:33:30 PM
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It would take a lot of these robots if you wanted to do it quickly, If they did not cost very much to make then it wouldnt be very much of a problem if you lost one.

     Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

robatnorcross
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Gold
Re: Wow
robatnorcross   6/29/2012 2:46:42 PM
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This makes me want to cry. I'll bet $100 that this was somehow funded by our bankrupt govt.

Even REAL cockroaches seem to get stuck on their backs (feet up) which makes it much easier to spray them with Raid and they have had a million years to perfect themselves. Hell we can't even make a lawnmower (see previous article) that works properly.

How is it that Honda can make a human that walks on two legs and goes up and down stairs and serves food and all we can come with is an F-ing cockroach.

I don't care how well it scurries around in the dark. I'm tired of sending my (very hard earned) tax dollars to bureaucrats to develop cockroaches.

Would someone PLEASE publish an article of somekind that doesn't piss me off.

We're doomed.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   6/29/2012 12:04:14 PM
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I'm pretty sure it's both. The story mentions Velcro hooks to give the robot a landing point underneath the ledge, and that helps explain how it attaches under the ledge in the video.

gsmith120
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
gsmith120   7/24/2012 1:14:46 PM
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I agree with you Rob this is a nice article.  I really enjoy reading the R&D robotic type articles and viewing the videos.  Maybe I have missed it, but I was wondering where can I find article(s) that show the next step for these inventions? In other words, we get to see the robotic in its next phase where it moved from development at a college to either use in consumer or military applications?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   7/25/2012 1:49:40 PM
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That's a very good question, Gsmith120. With the military robots, I would guess that a lot of the applications are held secret. As for search and rescue in the non-military world, a robot application was recently used to help defuse apartment of James Holmes.

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.

FrankieS
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Iron
Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
FrankieS   6/29/2012 9:38:19 AM
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 "We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger... faster."

Before you know it people will be performing the same acrobatics.  Of course, that would require some structural reinforcement due to limits of the human bone structure, but they did it with Wolverine in X-Men.  It seems like some of the things seen in movies over theyears are starting to become more and more of a reality, and it's kind of scary.

Charles Murray
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Charles Murray   6/29/2012 8:08:08 PM
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Frankie S: Sounds like The Rise of the Machines.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   7/2/2012 12:19:16 PM
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I just saw a movie that might qualify for the big bug/worm/whatever-kind-of-critter-nightmare sci-fi flick: Prometheus, the Alien prequel. Come to think of it, I guess all the Alien movies could qualify.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   7/2/2012 1:34:23 PM
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Yes, I heard that was a good movie. Not sure what it has to do with robots that can move like lizards, but maybe there is something we can learn from the imaginary aliens.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   7/2/2012 1:44:05 PM
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Rob, if I explain any further to answer your question I'd be giving away spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   7/2/2012 1:56:36 PM
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OK, no spoilers. I do intend to see it. My son was very impressed by the movie, and he is very picky. So I expect that it's very good.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   7/3/2012 11:42:04 AM
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I'm picky too, and I thought Prometheus was fabulous, in visuals and concept. There are a few script stupidities, and some plot holes, but who cares? Ridley Scott does it again.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   7/3/2012 12:59:25 PM
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Yes, I agree, Ann, Ridley Scott is wonderful. I recently found out he is now Sir Ridley. My favorite of his many, many films is Alien. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   7/5/2012 12:57:54 PM
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My fave Ridley Scott movie is, and probably always will be, Blade Runner. I have to say, though, that I think Prometheus is up there higher than any of the Alien films.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Rob Spiegel   7/5/2012 1:50:35 PM
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As my favorite Ridley Scott movie, I'd have to pick the first Alien movie. He didn't direct the other ones, and there were not as strong. I have to get around to seeing Prometheus before it leaves the big screen.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimicky good, roaches just bad
Ann R. Thryft   6/29/2012 12:05:32 PM
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Dozer789, it's for search-and-rescue ops. But see Chuck's comment above yours. Chuck, see Dozer789's. Looks like you guys will be having nightmares soon. I mean, really: a world over-ridden by robots that look like bugs and worms and crabs and whatnot, some of them (gulp) 500x the size of bugs? All kidding aside, that does sound like a movie script.



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