There is no denying that cockroaches are one of the most disgusting insects out there, but these skittering creatures are also incredibly adaptable, able to survive a couple weeks without water and up to a month without food. On top of this adaptability, cockroaches can also squeeze into almost any space because of their flexible outer shell. It was this feature in particular that has inspired scientists to create a cockroach-like rescue robot that can be deployed at search-and-rescue sights to find victims trapped by earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Earlier this week, PNAS released a report written by Kaushik Jayaram and Robert J. Full that described just how impressive the cockroach’s exoskeleton is. Thanks to its soft and flexible outer shell, a cockroach can withstand forces nearly 900 times its body weight and is able to flatten out to fit into spaces less than a quarter of its height. How is this possible? Cockroaches have a collapsible exoskeleton made of overlapping plates of chitin and held together with a flexible membrane, providing them the flexibility and durability they need to survive.
Named CRAM, the prototype rescue robot is about three inches tall and able to crawl into spaces less than half its height. Right now, rescuers struggle to save individuals more than 20 feet beneath rubble, but this cockroach inspired technology may be able to burrow into rubble and rescue individuals 40 feet or deeper.
Learn more in the video below:
As exciting as the rescue robot is, you still don’t want to see a real cockroach in your home! If you find one of these creepy critters scurrying around your Charlottesville, Waynesboro or Culpeper area house, contact Blue Ridge Termite & Pest Management Group right away!