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065.R52. Cockroach. Rover

…These researchers have used biomimicry of the cockroach, one of nature’s most successful species, to design and build sprawl-legged robots that can move very quickly (up to five body-lengths per second). In addition, these robots are very good at manoeuvring in changing terrain, and can continue forward motion when encountering hip-height obstacles or uphill and downhill slopes of up to 24 degrees. These types of small, fast robots could potentially be used for military reconnaissance, bomb defusion and de-mining expeditions.
Biomimetic robots are even being considered by NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts for use in exploring the planet Mars. While these ideas are only in the brainstorming phase, many researchers believe that only robots designed based on insect models would be able to generate enough lift in Mars’ low-density atmosphere to take off, hover and land to explore the Red Planet. However, one must bear in mind that the fluid dynamics of small insects are very different from that of large robots. Since tiny organisms interact with their fluid environment at different Reynold’s numbers (a value indicating the viscosity of the fluid relative to the size of the organism), the air through which they fly is relatively more viscous than it would be for a larger organism, like swimming through molasses as opposed to water. As a result, one cannot be certain that a large scale model of insect flight would be able to interact with the air in the same way as a real insect to enable flight (this problem would also be worsened by the thin atmosphere on Mars)…

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