The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

DASH Hexapedal Cockroach-Inspired Robot Survives Large Falls, Dashes Off

This little robot developed at UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab can survive a 7-story fall -- and dash off at high-speed.

1 min read
DASH Hexapedal Cockroach-Inspired Robot Survives Large Falls, Dashes Off
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/LsTKAtBBkfU&hl=en&fs=1& expand=1]

 

Halloween is approaching, so how about ... DIY cockroach robot!

The Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod, aptly abbreviated DASH, really moves. It's a high-speed six-legged runner that can be built in an hour using basically cardboard and polymer sheets for its frame.

Well, it helps if you have a laser cutter and a PhD in robotics.

Created by Paul Birkmeyer and Prof. Ronald Fearing at the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley, DASH is extremely lightweight (16 grams) and uses a single DC motor to power the legs and a small servomotor to slightly deform the robot's body, making it turn left or right.

dash robot

The little robot can reach speeds of 1.5 meters per second and is flexible/strong enough to be dropped from a height of 28 meters without breaking. It picks up and dashes off again.

Just be careful about running the robot near people who are squeamish about insects -- or DASH might get smashed.

Video: Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, UC Berkeley

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
Horizontal
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

Keep Reading ↓Show less