It might not be your ideal choice to have some robot cockroaches in your house on a daily basis, let alone the real versions of the insect. But who would reject a helping hand to run cumbersome errands?
Scientists from the University of Tsukuba had utilized Madagascar cockroaches to get some inspiration and see how they reached places where robots couldn't. After a long monitoring process of the way these insects navigated, the researchers adapted their robot cockroach with multiple mobility functions.
Dubbed 'Calmbots', electrodes, a battery, a chip antenna were installed inside the robots. A pixel was also strapped to their backs to serve as a display.
So what these Calmbots can do varies from pushing and moving objects to drawing things on paper with a pencil. Imagining that they're close to the RoboRoach from the 00s animated TV series, the way these robots use the ink is oddly satisfying.
"We devised option parts attached to cockroaches, making them capable of drawing lines and transporting objects," researchers explained.
Calmbots can also be used as an input or haptic interfaces or audio device. Let's not forget they are coded with a 'friendly' algorithm to help their fellow robots, in case any of them deters from performing the assigned task. This feature, as the scientists suggest, is an inspiration based on the way ants work collectively -- some don't work but are always ready to help others.
"We controlled multiple cockroaches effectively by developing the control based on the principle of worker ants, which exists in a swarm of ants," researchers explained. "When there appear out-of-control cockroaches, we utilized the substitute cockroaches to continue the ongoing task."
While little insect robots have been involved in our lives either for collecting more observatory data or just to simply mimic real ones for some time now, this time they are completely ready to help run a house.