A team at UC Berkley’s Department Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences’ Biomimetic Millisystems Lab developed the world’s fastest cockroach-inspired robot using 3d printing technologies.
Cockroach robots have been designed before, duplicating the exact movements and the structure of the insect. However, the previous cockroach robot designs have restrictions in the number of steps taken in a period of time, as the muscoskeletal system of a cockroach only allows the insect to vary its stride lengths to alter its speed.
Instead, the team at UC Berkley’s Department Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences’ Biomimetic Millisystems Lab led by Duncan W.Haldane and Ronald S. Fearing designed a robot inspired by a cockroach, but with altered body parts and structures.
The team focused on varying the number of steps taken for a period of time, instead of changing the stride lengths, as the legs are directly correlated to the motors. Ultimately, the team designed the robot to carry out 45 stride cycles in total.
Haldane and his team did attempt to program the robot to produce more stride cycles per second. However, the robot did not function properly and started to lose its consistency after a few cycles. Researchers explained, “More dynamic performance from this robot is achievable.”
Currently, the robot moves at 4.9 meters / second, a substantially fast speed compared to the size of the robot, which measures 10.4 centimeters in length.
The legs of the robot are composed of fiber glass and 3D printed parts. The 3D printed key components of the leg gives flexibility to the robot when travelling at high speeds.