You could argue that robotic bees that pollinate plants and robotic ants that help clean up a factory make sense and could obviously benefit humanity, but could the same be said of robotic versions of pests like fleas and cockroaches? It may depend on how they’re engineered and ultimately put to use.


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Impressive Robotic Insects 
One of the key advantages in drawing inspiration from insects for the design of robots is their tiny structure, but there are also other insect abilities that come into play.  A flea’s remarkable jumping ability has already been incorporated into a tiny, foldable lightweight robot, which could then cross rugged terrain for recon and sensor applications.

Similarly, a cockroach’s impeccable speed and scurrying capabilities have been recently shown in an impressive robot prototype.

Credit: midorisyu

An Appreciation For The Tiny And Complex
Reportedly from the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, a robotic roach has been developed for an unspecified organization. Called the Death’s Head, the mechanical bug sounds and moves quite creepy, much like a real death’s head roach.

At a closer look, one can really appreciate the complex and fluid motion of  the tiny piece of machinery. Perhaps further appreciation is due when you consider how the Death’s Head’s capabilities could be used as a life saving search and rescue roach that’s able to reach otherwise inaccessible areas following a disaster or accident.

When equipped with a tiny camera, the robotic roach could potentially look for survivors under rubble or in closed off areas. It could even carry up to ten grams of cargo. Its twenty minutes of battery life may limit its use to short missions, but it could still be an effective tool for inspection and reconnaissance.

Credit: Jiuguang Wang

New Meaning To Being Bugged
The Death’s Head robot could also be an impressively covert spying tool, giving new, more literal meaning to the term “bugged.” How beneficial such a device will be may depend greatly on which side you’re on.

What are your thoughts on building and using bug-inspired robots for precise applications like this? Do you expect their development or deployment to have any affect on your industry.

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