The video: Science has long considered the cockroach the most resilient creature on Earth, capable even of surviving a nuclear disaster. So why not put the bugs — or at least mechanical versions of them — to work in hazardous conditions unfit for humans? UC Berkeley scientists are hoping to use swarms of the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod (DASH), which moves a lot like its six-legged inspiration, to find disaster survivors, reports CNET. The latest model, which features stabilizing "wings," can move at a speedy 1.3 meters per second and climb inclines up to 17 degrees. (Watch the video below.) With a mounted camera and a few modifications, it might prove to be a particularly valuable ally in the aftermath of earthquakes.
The reaction: The addition of wings could help the new DASH models "climb through wreckage" to help find earthquake survivors, but these "creepy" robots still remind me of creatures that "could also crawl into my apartment building at night and eat my brains," says Chenda Ngak of CBS News. Nonetheless, says Tim Barribeau of io9, DASH might teach us a thing or two about "the evolutionary path" that gave rise to wings. The robot's body mechanics support the theory that the first flying creatures probably didn't do running take-offs. Take a look:
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