Robotic Cockroach Built By Russian University

It’s name is Blaberus Cranifer, or Death’s Head for short. Light has now been shed on this once secret project built by the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University for a “vague” Russian organization. The little guy has a 20 minute battery life and can carry a 10 gram payload. Which comes in handy when you want to sneak a camera into hard to reach places. Other requirements were for it to look and behave like a real live insect.

It’s an impressive project considering it was built from scratch in only seven months time. Its intricate gears and other mechanical features would require the hands of a skilled watch maker to construct. Alternatively, one can control live insects such as controlling a roach’s brain or hooking up some radio controls to a live beetle. But building robotic insects is still pretty cool.

Be sure to check out the well made video detailing some of the project’s build process.

53 thoughts on “Robotic Cockroach Built By Russian University

  1. European CAD software, american tools, parts and operating system yet they keep saying that everything western is a devil. If it were up to me I’d embargo export of all modern technology to Russia.

      1. You can’t stop it. As an ally, a B29 Super-fortress made a forced landing in Russia after a raid on Japan. Stalin kept it and ordered it copied down to the lettering and paint on the electronic parts. That’s why you can buy new 12AU6 tubes in Russia, and H-bombs and 6502 computer chips and on and on. Copying is short term gain and leaves you without the underpinnings that made the innovations possible. You have to keep copying. I think their greatest home grown export is the AK-47, and they mostly give them away.

    1. >”yet they keep saying that everything western is a devil”

      What part of the WORLD are you thinking about right now. The only ones that dorked up in the head is the good old U_S_of_A. Those commie so and so’s. And back in the old days it was commies vs capitalists.

      If it wasn’t for Putin and the Russian Space Agency there would be almost NOTHING to watch on the NASA channel. Not to mention getting NASA scientists up to the International Space Station and getting them back down.

      >”they”
      No “they” don’t. It’s called super-powers playing games, NATO puts missile sites on the border states pointing at them, troop movements and naval exercises from both the Mediterranean, Black sea, Arctic Circle area. Not to mention being surrounded by states with Nukes? Pakistan, India, China…

      Canada? Mexico? Not to mention EVER single country,state, nation on the North, Central and South American continent has ZERO nukes.

      Come on. This IS NOT /pol on a chan board. Knock it off.

      1. You seem to get your information from an untrustworthy and biased source, and have really bought into a bunch of political propaganda. Is the USA perfect? Hell no. Does Russia continue to use US technology, yet claim that the USA is an incompetent western devil? Yup.

        All ijag claimed is that it is ironic how Russia depends so heavily on US and European technology, yet continues to defame their technical prowess. And he is right. It is pretty damned ironic and pretty damned hilarious at that.

          1. Lol, let me highlight the point for you:

            “All ijag claimed is that it is ironic how Russia depends so heavily on US and European technology, yet continues to defame their technical prowess. And he is right. It is pretty damned ironic and pretty damned hilarious at that.”

          2. @phreaknik, the “technology” used in this video is actually not usa or euro technology at all. It is Russian software and technology that your western imperialist companies have stolen and rebranded it as your own. YOU seem to be the one eating propoganda

          3. Apart from everything the damn site of the project prominently features a youtube from Berkley’s research and mentions they go to (non-russian) meetings on the subject for encouragement and inspiration giving credit to the US and other nation’s people working on similar things.
            Their site also does not mention that ‘mysterious organization’ that supposedly asked them to do the research, and I’m just going to assume that’s all in the head of those popsci people, not just because I see no evidence but also because I saw some other articles on that popsci site, and that is enough to see they are more about the ‘pop’ than ‘sci’.

            But excuse me for raining on certain people’s parade, it’s such a festive parade with lots of flags and colorful balloons filled with air too.

          4. @whatnot, I agree completely. I think the whole ‘mysterious organization’ crap is just a bunch of hype injected by pop-sci to get more readers. That lame parade deserves a little rain

          1. Im not sure what work you think I do that in any way relates to any of the aforementioned countries and their political squabbling, but I will be sure to keep your comment in mind ;)

        1. Man, your talk is decades outdated. I am russian, I live in Moscow, I use lot of tech from USA, China and elsewhere and I don’t give a shit about all that geopolitical hype. Neither do anyone whom I know. Maybe some grumpy old men, don’t know. Learn to live in fucking peace, we’re all same people on a same planet

          1. Maybe you should live in fucking peace and leave gay people alone, but your entire country is competing in the fewest human rights race with the middle-east. Along with your crazy shit like having to register as an official news source if you run a blog that gets a decent readership, and have what you say modified and censored.

            New Zealand is a haven compared to Russia.

          2. Fennec,
            Should I start over all the crap US govs throw at you and all the world? :) Pressure on informational freedom is kinda global trend, just served in differnet forms (antiterrorism, child wellbeing, etc.) How the hell does it relate with tech?

      1. Actually, there is talk about the (realtively) new RS-24 Yars (basically a successor the the Topol-M missile) using American designed, China-made (and bought from) IMUs…the global market is a bitch and ITAR can’t do shit about it…

    2. No one actually said it was devil. That’s your twisted interpretation. What was said is that Western software/hardware cannot be relied on for the military purposes as it might contain some sort of backdoors and weaknesses by design. Yea, go ahead, embargo it. Make the Western companies lose that market. I am sure they will thank you for that. And, yea, its good that those things are not up to you. In fact, I would advise you to stay away from any manager positions.

    3. What you hear about Russia is through western media organisations who have an agenda to delegitimize most things Russia does. You are intentionally fed fairy stories to make you think Russia is a threat. The thing is Russia does not want war, Most of the world view America as the biggest threat to peace and stability. You seem to forget America after WW2 took German scientists to work on nukes. All this talk of embargo is stupid Russia doesn’t want too and can’t fight the west.

      Westerner’s are not seen as the devil by the Russian’s they are a bit pissed of we have economically crippled their country and rightly so. I am not Pro-Russian myself but I refuse to be spoonfed lies and fear by he media. Perhaps instead of watching channels like Fox (if your American) watch some real news or fact check the stories/news you hear.

  2. It strikes me as the natural evolution of the BEAM robotics movement I grew up with, driven by Mark Tilden and others.
    I love the integration of control logics with the aesthetic elegance of clockwork movements and modern battery life.
    Great work!

  3. I like it – but am I the only one who thinks it seems overly mechanical in an era of miniature components? It seems like a 20 year old approach to me.

    Why not 3D print it and use tiny gear motors or tiny brush less motors? It is loud and archaic and seems unlikely to come close to being the state of the art of these types of devices?

  4. Watch the video, its a LOT larger than the article alludes to. It’s the size of a Madagascar hissing roach. Impressive, but sadly battery tech is what is holding everything like this back.

    1. Imagine if they were able to sandwhich a graphene super capacitor under all the electronics. That would be a technological feat in itself. Decent capacity and rapid charging. They could even slap a small solar cell on top and harvest room light. The mechanical and electronics aspect of it has been done before several times even by hobbyists. Just because it has some legs on it and a complex gear system doesn’t make it impressive. It just has to appear like an insect, roaches move fast enough that you could glue some wires to some wheels and they would flap around.

  5. So, here we are, instead of discussing the work done on this little piece of engineering, we are bitching about Russia, gay rights(wtf does this even have to do with the video?) Soviet tech and that this sort of work was already done by someone else in the past. About the last one, many things have being done before, doesn’t make it any less exciting.

    1. I didnt bitch that it is ‘done in the past’ – the question is why it is so archaic in an era of advanced miniature mechanics and electronics.

      It looks like prop builders made it for a 90-s movie with steam punk influences for crying out loud.

      Cool but… Research grade?

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