One of the things we all know about cockroaches is that they will be the most likely survivors of the worst apocalyptic scenario you can come up with, from zombie invasions to nuclear winter. So it makes sense that these versatile and virtually indestructible creatures are providing inspiration for the latest generation of robots designed to help humans in case of disaster.
One approach is to add motion control to live cockroaches. While we might find it distasteful to wire remote control into the nervous system of a human or even a dog, most people have little enough compassion for roaches that the ethical quandaries involved in taking over the nervous system of a living creature take a back seat in the case of cockroaches. The insects can be fitted with microphones, cameras, and other types of sensors and sent into places where human beings can’t go. They will then relay information back to the waiting human beings.
That would allow rescuers to know what they’re getting into before they start trying to make their way through piles of rubble or other barriers.
The flexibility that allows these little beasties to creep through cracks into small spaces has also inspired engineers to try to build robots that have the same features as cockroaches. These useful features include the ability to squish themselves down to one quarter of their height, the capacity to survive pressure equaling 900 times their body weight, and a special means of locomotion that’s more like swimming than walking.
A giant cockroach robot with these features could squirm into places where humans couldn’t go and provide communication devices, water, and other needful items for trapped humans… whose PTSD experience would have a giant cockroach added to it.
Servo motors, naturally, will activate the legs and the flexible plates of the robot cockroach exoskeleton. However innovative and complex robotics becomes, servo motors are always at the heart of the system.