By studying cockroach locomotion, scientists learn how to build better, more mobile robots
When they turn up in pantries or restaurant kitchens, cockroaches are commonly despised as ugly, unhealthy pests. But in the name of science, Johns Hopkins researchers have put these unwanted bugs to work.
In a crowded, windowless lab, scholars and students are coaxing the insects to share some crucial locomotion tips that could help future robotic vehicles traverse treacherous terrain. In the aftermath of an earthquake or on the unexplored, alien surface of another planet, for example, a cockroach could persist where humans hesitate to go.