Perhaps the world does need a cockroach that can live forever. The biological version, despite being land creatures, can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes, and some can even live through nuclear explosions (up to a point). Now Harvard University’s new robotic cockroach (video above) is slated to have a much longer life.
Harvard’s Ambulatory Microrobot, also known as HAMR, can walk on land, swim, and even walk underwater. And its time there isn’t confined to a 30-minute limit, for it can stay underwater as long as necessary to explore new environments.
“HAMR’s size is key to its performance,” Neel Doshi, graduate student at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and co-author of the paper, was quoted as saying in the Harvard Gazette. “If it were much bigger, it would be challenging to support the robot with surface tension and if it were much smaller, the robot might not be able to generate enough force to break it.”
HAMR weighs only 1.65 gram and is commensurately small. It can, however, carry 1.44 gram of additional payload without sinking.
“This robot nicely illustrates some of the challenges and opportunities with small-scale robots,” said senior author Robert Wood, Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS.