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Click Beetles Inspire Design of Self-Righting Robots


A click beetle.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are studying click beetles to understand how the insects jump without using their limbs when tipped onto their backsides, in the hope they can adapt that mechanism for use by a robot.

Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) are studying click beetles to understand how the insects jump without using their limbs when tipped onto their backsides.

"The beetles have a unique hinge-like mechanism between their heads and abdomens that makes a clicking sound when initiated and allows them to flip into the air and back onto their feet when they are knocked over," says study co-author Marianne Alleyne.

UIUC professor Aimy Wissa says, "We observe, model, and validate each stage of the jump with the hopes that we can later integrate them into a self-righting robot."

The researchers have already built prototypes of a hinge-like, spring-loaded device to be incorporated into a robot.

"This study is a two-way street--engineers are informing the biologists and vice versa," Wissa notes. "We look forward to seeing where this research will take us and are very proud of the attention it received at the BIOMinnovate Challenge expo."

From University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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