Author Topic: Rocket Roaches  (Read 1564 times)

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Offline Vene

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Rocket Roaches
« on: January 07, 2012, 11:31:54 am »
http://skepchick.org/2012/01/roaches-with-jet-packs/
Biomimetics is the fancy name for engineering systems that copy principles found in nature. Basing robots that need to scamper over rough terrain on an insect model that’s successfully lasted millions of years makes a lot of sense. But just how, exactly, do insects keep all those legs going in the right direction?  How can they respond so quickly to an approaching rolled-up newspaper?  How do insects manage this advanced scuttling with such a tiny brain?  And how can insects keep running even after their head is removed?
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So. Um, WHY did they put jetpacks on roaches? Aside from it just being a totally freakin’ COOL thing to do?

Remember I mentioned how stable the tripod gait is?   The researchers suspected that the roach wasn’t using just its brain to keep itself balanced and running.  They created a mathematical model of a roach with legs that were springs.

Just the mechanical properties of springy legs were able to explain how a roach kept on track and at full speed, despite obstacles.  They called these “preflexive” mechanisms, to indicate that the exoskeleton and muscles stabilize roaches without involvement of the nervous system.
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Insects are indeed pretty damn amazing animals, and a great model for robotics.  The authors have continued their work on the hexapod gait, and have proposed several models of ways in which legs might be built–in both roaches and robots–to respond quickly to problems.

I sincerely believe the answer to a lot of engineering problems have already been solved in the natural world through billions of years of evolution. Evolutionary algorithms have already been quite successful in computer science and can solve coding problems that human engineers are unable to figure out, imagine what it would do if it was let to run on such a grand time scale.

Offline Old Viking

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Re: Rocket Roaches
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 09:18:19 pm »
This will go a long way if they get all the bugs out.
I am an old man, and I've seen many problems, most of which never happened.

Offline Quasirodent

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Re: Rocket Roaches
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 12:24:57 pm »
^Pfft.
I remember when they built 'BigDog' and I was like 'Holy crap!  They kicked it and it -compensated!-  Thing is slow and loud and creepy as grampa's balls tho.
Jesus had two dads and he turned out okay.

Offline JohnE

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Re: Rocket Roaches
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 12:43:26 pm »
^Pfft.
I remember when they built 'BigDog' and I was like 'Holy crap!  They kicked it and it -compensated!-  Thing is slow and loud and creepy as grampa's balls tho.
There's a new model called Alpha Dog that's faster and quieter.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSbZrQp-HOk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSbZrQp-HOk</a>

Offline Da Rat Bastid

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Re: Rocket Roaches
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 03:56:36 pm »
This will go a long way if they get all the bugs out.



^Pfft.
I remember when they built 'BigDog' and I was like 'Holy crap!  They kicked it and it -compensated!-  Thing is slow and loud and creepy as grampa's balls tho.
There's a new model called Alpha Dog that's faster and quieter.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSbZrQp-HOk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSbZrQp-HOk</a>

Also, I posted the video of the previous model of this, on the previous forum.