Scurrying Roaches Help Researchers Steady Staggering Robots

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The robot used in this experiment was a Minotaur brand machine with legs. Georgia Tech / Neveln

Eeewww, a cockroach! Then it zips off before the swatter appears. Now, researchers have leveraged the bug’s superb scurrying skills to create a cleverly simple method to assess and improve locomotion in robots.

The swings of the cockroach's legs can be graphed similarly to a pendulum's swings into sine waves. These lead to better mathematical understanding of the insect's locomotion. Credit: Georgia Tech / Sponberg / Neveln

The cockroach species Blaberus discoidalis was used for the experiments. They are prevalent in Central and South America and in Florida. Credit: Politikaner - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8864418