JumpRoaCH Is Kind Of Cute, Kind Of Creepy

There’s a theory that the fear of scurrying things is genetic. Likewise, a similar theory arose about the tendency for humans to find helpless things cute. After all, our useless babies do best in a pest free environment. This all could explain why we found this robotic roach to be both a little cute and a little creepy.

The university sponsored project, JumpRoaCH, is a collaboration between South Korea’s SNU Biorobotics Lab and Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab. Imitating insects has been a popular avenue for robotic research, and often results in very interesting experiments.

This robot looks like a ladybug going through its rebellious teen phase. It runs on six hook shaped legs which allow it to traverse a wider array of surfaces than wheels would, at the expense of speed and higher vibrations. The robot does a very convincing, if wobbly, scurry across the surface of its test table.

It also has a secret attack in the form of a single Rockem Sockem Robot arm located on its belly. With a powerful burst, the arm can launch the robot up a few feet to a higher surface. If the robot lands on its wheels the researchers high-five. If the robot lands on its back, it can use its ,”wings,” to flip itself right-side-up again.

The resulting paper (PDF file) has a nice description of the robot and its clever jumping mechanism. At least if these start multiplying like roaches, hackers will never short for tiny motors for their projects. Video after the break.

Featured Photo Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum

13 thoughts on “JumpRoaCH Is Kind Of Cute, Kind Of Creepy

  1. That thing is 100% cute! ^_^

    On a perhaps less happy note, that thing is 100% perfect for espionage…I’m sure the TLAs would be OK with losing the jump mechanism and use the freed space to fit maybe a mic, a camera, a wireless network adapter or an SDR. It could not only be mistaken for a roach from a distance (with some brown paint and antennae) but could hide like one too.

  2. Some small mishap:
    “It runs on six hook shaped legs which allow it to traverse a wider array of surfaces than wheels would”
    “If the robot lands on its wheels the researchers high-five”

    Either way, pretty cool little robot, i like how they looked at how beetles etc ‘self-right’ and used that, although the wings do add a bit too the creepy factor.

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