Cockroaches, as gross as they are, are very intriguing because of their unique ability to squeeze into tight places as little as a quarter of their body height. Their bodies allow them to compress and shift forms to squeeze into those tight places you can never seem to reach, and it’s believed to be an evolutionary trait they’ve obtained for survival purposes.
This ability is significant because it has inspired researchers at the University of California Berkley to create a new type of robot with similar abilities. Their research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dubbed CRAM, this new robotic cockroach has similar abilities – it’s compressible, which means it can be squeezed and compressed without losing its functions, giving it the ability to get into tight places without causing bodily harm or damage to its surroundings.
The robot achieves this with articulable mechanisms, which are able to squeeze and compress into smaller forms so that the robot is able to reduce its size, much like a cockroach can.
CRAM has a shell that can be compressed, and when it needs to crawl through places that are much smaller than its typical body size would allow, it can crawl on other parts of its legs instead of the feet themselves.
With these abilities, CRAM can fit through crevices that are up to 50% smaller than the robot's actual body height. Such compressible technology may be a big leap forward in modern robotics, as there are often times when human beings are trapped in places where the only exits are too large for them to escape. A robot like this could easily get inside and provide accommodations or help until professionals could arrive.
Yeah, although the robot is based off of nasty cockroaches, the truth is that a cockroach is an incredible speices that we can learn a lot from.