The road to developing dexterous robots is paved with insect studies. In this case, it's a stick insect, Carausius morosus to be precise.
Scientists at Bielfeld University in Germany have been researching exactly how these stick insects walk (pdf) so that they might one day apply this knowledge to biomedical robots. Apparently these particular walking insects are easy to study in the lab because they don't walk to fast and they can't fly away.
The scientists went all Hollywood on their walking sticks by using motion-capture technology. They put detectors on the insets legs and torso and made them walk across super sensitive plates that could measure the force of each step. Of particular interest was the how the stick insect senses its environment with its front legs and communicated that information to its hip and back legs so they can react accordingly. This type of information synthesis will be vital for autonomous robots navigating unfamiliar terrain (on any/all scales, on Earth or another planet).
Watch this great video on this research made by New York Times:
Here's some more geek from the week:
- If this time-lapse video of a glowworm cave doesn't make you love our planet, I don't even want to know you. [VIDEO]
- Sea snails look like beautiful, fat, underwater butterflies.
- Giant tortoises in the Seychelles survive the midday sun by becoming cave dwellers.
- Stray dogs in Moscow have learned to use public transportation.
- Why big things may live longer and travel father than their smaller counterparts, including rocks and elephants.
- In addition to being a beloved children's author, Beatrix Potter was an amateur mycologist.
- Mounting evidence suggests there was a lot more interaction between early human species than previously thought.
- The New York Times just uploaded the temperature and precipitation data for cites around the world in 2015. [INTERACTIVE]
- One of the most famous photos of a sonic boom is actually flow-induced vaporization, aka a vapor cone.
- Astronomers have detected the atmosphere on a Super Earth exoplanet for the first time with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Brace yourselves. Astronaut ice cream may be <a total hoax. [VIDEO]
Keep on geeking!
@Summer_Ash, In-house Astrophysicist