Thursday, February 2, 2017

TED Talk #14: The secrets of nature's grossest creatures, channeled into robots

There has been a lot of talk of engineering on 8 White lately.  Recruitment of architects, builders, designers.  When scientists, engineers, and designers are looking for inspiration, where do they look? Sometimes inspiration is right in front of you.
So tiny.
So common.
It may go unnoticed.

Inspiration can be found in nature.
As simple as
the cockroach.

I know what you're thinking. Gross.  Just looking at that picture makes me shiver.  But cockroaches are one of the longest living creatures ever.  There must be a reason for their success. 

Maybe that success can be attributed to design.

Biologist Robert Full explains in his interesting (and slightly yucky) TED talk about the aspects of a cockroach's body that helps them adapt to their environment, stay safe, and live a long life grossing us out.  Robotic engineers have been studying the cockroach to see what they can learn and then use in their designs. 

How can robots learn to stabilize on rough terrain, walk upside down, do gymnastic maneuvers in air and run into walls without harming themselves? Robert Full takes a look at the incredible body of the cockroach to show what it can teach robotics engineers.

Check out his talk here.  

So, the next time you're building a structure, designing a game, or creating at all, look to nature and you may see inspiration crawling across the floor. Try not to squish it. 

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