Meet HAMR, the cockroach-inspired robot.
Full Story: SEAS, Harvard
The Harvard Ambulatory Microrobot — nicknamed HAMR — is a versatile robot that can run at high speeds, jump, climb, turn sharply, carry payloads and fall from great distances without being injured. HAMR, with more than 60 joints including hip and legs joints that mimic those of cockroaches, is manufactured using the pop-up microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication process that enables the construction of small-scale devices with complex 3D topologies and functionalities.
Currently in its sixth generation, this insect scale quadrupedal robot measures 4.5 cm in length and weights a mere 1.43g. Each leg is powered by two piezoelectric actuators allowing it to move along arbitrarily prescribed trajectories. The robot achieves running speeds upto 50 cm/s (over 10 bodylengths per sec) at leg cycling frequency of 45Hz. It can carry a payload of nearly 3.3g (over 2X body weight) with minimal decrease in locomotion performance.
HAMR, with its versatile locomotion capabilities and opportunity for rapid design iteration, also presents a platform that can enable researchers to better understand biological principles in nature by quickly testing hypotheses about locomotion.