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Animal Research

If you can't squish 'em, join 'em: Scientists build cockroach robot

If you can't squish 'em, join 'em: Scientists build cockroach robot

After running roaches through tunnels that were only as high as two pennies stacked flat, researchers at UC Berkeley have designed a cockroach robot that’s able to squeeze through tiny spaces at blazing speeds.

Such a roach bot, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, might eventually be deployed as search-and-rescue robobugs in rubble-strewn disaster zones and may cause scientists and engineers to redefine their ideas about the kinds of animals that can inspire "soft robotics."

Study co-author Robert Full, a UC Berkeley biomechanist, has long explored how animals move – he’s analyzed how geckos stick to walls and built...

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