This Bot Doesn’t Bite…

Check out this robot inspired by fleas!

Scientists at Seoul National University (SNU) have recently created a robot inspired by tiny blood-sucking bugs: fleas! Pesky as these little insects may be, they’ve got an incredible physical ability that not even an Olympic high-jumper could compete with — these guys can jump over 200 hundred times their own body length! See for yourself in NewScientist’s video above.

Not every insect is capable of such an extraordinary feat, so what is it exactly that puts that special spring in every little flea’s step? The muscle is the flea’s upper-leg is endowed with a special protein called resilin. Nerve impulses stimulate the compression and decompression of the stretchy resilin and in coordination with tissue that acts a bit like a latch, the flea’s jump mechanism operates much the way a spring does.

Using a special alloy called nitinol, derived from nickel and titanium, Minkyun Noh and his team at SNU constructed three tiny springs that function much like the flea’s. Embedded into a tiny 2 cm robot, the insect-inspired machine is able to leap about 30 times its own body length.

Currently, this bot relies on an external power source but scientists are trying to figure out a feasible way to get some nano batteries on board. While applications for the bot have yet to be specified, researchers believe this kind of technology could be used in a wide range of fields— from medicine to environment monitoring.

For more information on the design of this robot, you can access the paper HERE

This entry was posted in Asia, Biology, Robots and Research, Robots and the Environment, Robots Around the World and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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