WATCH: Adding a cockroach shell improves microbot mobility

The fields of bioinspiration and biomimetics look at animal evolution to improve machine function. Chen Li at UC Berkeley's Poly-PEDAL Lab found that an oval cockroach shell atop a small robot helps it squeeze through tight spaces more easily.

Without the shell, the robot was more likely to get stuck in the obstacle, but the shell improved its ability to achieve the angle needed to clear the narrow space.

Poly-PEDAL Lab