Here’s More on That Awesomely Terrifying Robot Roach

01.10.13 Andy Cush

After we posted about this high-speed, six-legged, cockroach-inspired cardboard robot yesterday, Duncan Haldane, the VELOCIRoACH’s creator, got in touch to share the above image and a few more details about the bot’s construction and inspiration. Haldane points out that though his cockroach isn’t the fastest robot ever–that honor belongs to Boston Dynamics’ LS3, as far as I know–it is the fastest relative to its size, traveling 27 times its own body length in one second.

The robot was inspired by the bane of many New Yorkers’ existences (including yours truly’s): Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach. “This quick cockroach weighs less than a gram,” Haldane told ANIMAL via email, “and can run at over 50 body-lengths per second, which makes it one of the world’s fastest insects.”

Most surprising is the insectoid’s intended use. Haldane envisions building a fleet of VELOCIRoACHes, which can be produced inexpensively thanks to their recyclable cardboard and plastic exoskeletons. “The target application for this robot, and other robots made in our lab, is search and rescue operations,” he said. “The idea is that we can build a huge number of very cheap, bio-inspired robots with remarkable mobility to quickly find people trapped in a disaster site.”

In case you missed it yesterday, here’s footage of the VELOCIRoACH in action from New Scientist.