This Cardboard Cockroach Is the World’s Second-Fastest Robot

January 9, 2013 | Andy Cush

As if regular cockroaches weren’t awful enough, a professor at University of California, Berkley has created the VELOCIRoACH, a six-legged cardboard robot modeled on roach anatomy that can run at 2.7 meters per second–26 times the length of its body–making it the second-fastest self-propelled robot on record. Check it out, skittering around disgustingly, in the above video.

New Scientist explains how la cucaracha influenced the bot’s design:

The secret to VELOCIRoACH’s speed is its thin, C-shaped legs. They mimic a roach’s legs by acting as springs as they hit the ground 15 times per second. To stay stable as it runs, the robot has three legs on the ground at all times, forming tripods. Its approach to obstacles mimics a roach’s as well – rather than trying to avoid them, it runs into them head first, then pops up onto its end and goes over the top.

What’s next? Duncan Haldane, who created VELOCIRoACH, says he’s working on a design that springs back to life if it’s ever stepped on and flattened.

(Photo: Martin Grimm/Flickr)