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Disposable Robots Can Sprint, Fly, and Potentially Save Lives


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Two VelociRoACH robots.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are developing sophisticated robots that are up to 10 centimeters long, and can run, climb, fly, and communicate with emergency personnel.

Credit: Carlos Casarez, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are developing inexpensive mini-robots that can run, climb, fly, and communicate with emergency personnel.

The robots are up to 10 centimeters long and cost $10 to $100. The mini-robots would be more useful to deploy in emergency situations than larger robots, which can be slow and unpredictable, and have trouble jumping over obstacles.

The designs are inspired by lizards and insects, and aid in fast movement and maneuverability.

Wireless connectivity and other modules, such as distance, thermal, and environmental sensors, can be loaded onto the robots to increase their utility, and the data generated can be displayed on a tablet.

Once the multi-legged robots serve their purpose, they can be discarded.

The robots now have the ability to collaborate, but the team wants to ensure they can be easily manufactured.

The researchers plan to collaborate with California Task Force 3 Urban Search and Rescue to locate people in collapsed buildings.

The project is funded by the National Robotics Initiative, part of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

From IDG News Service
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