There are robots, and then HAMR-Jr (Harvard Ambulatory MicroRobot), a cockroach-inspired quadrupedal robot that might scurry around homes of the future. It’s powered by piezoelectric actuators that enable it to travel nearly 30cm per second, at a gait frequency of 200 hertz. For comparison, the highest known frequency of a synchronized insect muscle contractions is 224 Hz, which happens in the tymbal muscles of the Australian cicada. Read more for a video and additional information.
HAMR-Jr is capable of crawling, jumping, and moving sideways like a crab with payloads of up to 320 mg. What are some practical applications? Robotic surgery and rescue missions, with the latter focusing on crawling into rubble to find survivors.
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With HAMR-Jr, we can cycle the legs at the rate of over 200 Hz, which is unprecedented for terrestrial biological systems, and we did not have a priori notion about the locomotion dynamics at these high stride frequencies,” said Kaushik Jayaram, University of Colorado Boulder.