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An Icky New Hero: Roach-Like Robots May Help in Disasters

This photo provided by PolyPEDAL Lab UC Berkeley, shows the compressible robot, CRAM with a real cockroach. When buildings collapse in future disasters, the hero helping rescue trapped people may be a cheap robotic roach. Repulsive as they seem, cockroaches have the unusual ability to squish their bodies down to one quarter their normal size, yet still scamper at lightning speed. Add to that, the common roach can withstand 900 times its own body weight without being hurt. That’s the equivalent to a 200-pound man who wouldn’t be crushed 90 tons on his head. (PolyPEDAL Lab UC Berkeley/Tom Libby, Kaushik Jayaram and Pauline Jennings via AP)
This photo provided by PolyPEDAL Lab UC Berkeley, shows the compressible robot, CRAM with a real cockroach. When buildings collapse in future disasters, the hero helping rescue trapped people may be a cheap robotic roach. Repulsive as they seem, cockroaches have the unusual ability to squish their bodies down to one quarter their normal size, yet still scamper at lightning speed. Add to that, the common roach can withstand 900 times its own body weight without being hurt. That’s the equivalent to a 200-pound man who wouldn’t be crushed 90 tons on his head. (PolyPEDAL Lab UC Berkeley/Tom Libby, Kaushik Jayaram and Pauline Jennings via AP)

WASHINGTON—When buildings collapse in future disasters, the hero helping rescue trapped people may be a robotic cockroach. Repulsive as they may be, roaches have the...




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