A new series of science documentaries examines how nature can help humanity solve some of the world’s biggest problems, and one of the episodes features Department of Mechanical Engineering professor Paul M. Rady.
Professor Kaushik Jayaram shared his research on bio-inspired robotics with biologist Patrick Aryee on the CuriosityStream series titled “Evolve”. In the show, Jayaram brings Aryee to his Animal-Inspired Movement and Robotics Lab (AIM-RL) at the University of Colorado Boulder to see the robots his research group has developed based on the greatest survivors. of nature – cockroaches.
The robot designs are inspired by different aspects of cockroach biology such as the morphology of their legs or body and their miniature size. One of the robots Jayaram showed Aryee, named HAMR-Jr, is the size of a penny. Jayaram also said he hopes to add wings to future robots, allowing them to fly or crawl on land.
“There’s a lot of potential for doing good with robots interacting with humans,” Jayaram said on the show. “Some of the key directions that we think these robots can have influence in are obviously things like search and rescue.”
Such cockroach-inspired robots could help save lives in the future. In a collapsed building scenario, robots can move through and over terrain like bugs. They are small enough to squeeze into places inaccessible to first responders, allowing search and rescue to find victims faster.
“The critical nature of the time it takes to try to find survivors following an earthquake, for example, imagine having, hundreds of these [robots]“, Aryee said. “To just be able to send them into a potentially very dangerous environment for these first responders and be able to pinpoint exactly where these victims are. That would be really nice.”
These robotic devices could also help the company with inspection and maintenance, personal assistance and environmental monitoring.
Other episodes of “Evolve” show how nature – from mushrooms and beetles to giraffes and squids – can inspire technologies for medicine, protection, transportation and climate change mitigation.
“Evolve” premieres on CuriosityStream January 27. CuriosityStream is a subscription service.