Jayaram, K et al. / The Royal Society

Robotic roaches run headlong into walls without damage

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
As if real cockroaches weren't bad enough, now scientists are building roboroaches! US researchers built a palm-sized robot which can run headlong into walls without damaging itself, much like the insect which inspired its design - the humble cockroach. Clever design inspired by nature allows the shape of the robot to enable it to deal with obstacles, meaning it requires fewer expensive sensors to help it avoid damage, say the scientists.

Journal/conference: Journal of the Royal Society Interface

Link to research (DOI): 10.1098/rsif.2017.0664

Organisation/s: University of California, USA

Funder: ARL MAST CTA Grant.

Media Release

From: The Royal Society

Transition by head-on collision: Mechanically mediated maneuvers in cockroaches and small robots

Small, rapid running cockroaches use robust exoskeletons like automobile bumpers to collide head-on into obstacles and transition up a vertical wall at the fastest escape speeds possible. Instead of avoidance, animals rely on passive body shape and compliance to negotiate challenging environments. Inspired, we develop a palm-sized legged robot to execute a passive, high-speed, head-first vertical transitions. Relying on the mechanical control offered by soft exoskeletons represents a paradigm shift for understanding the control of small animals and the next generation of running, climbing, and flying robots where the use of the body can off-load the demand for rapid sensing and actuation. 


  • The Royal Society
    Web page
    The url will go live at some point after the embargo ends

News for:


Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.