Watch out, Egypt: Here come the Israeli robo-locusts
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Watch out, Egypt: Here come the Israeli robo-locusts

Pharaoh saw locusts as a plague. Yemenite cooks see locusts as a snack. And Dr. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University saw them as a template for miniature robots that could play an important role in conducting automated surveillance and emergency response.

“The locust, being a large insect that has wonderful jumping performance, had offered itself as wonderful inspiration for this specific idea of a miniature jumping robot,” Dr. Ayali, from the university’s department of zoology, told Reuters.

The robotic locusts are made from carbon robs, steel springs, and 3D printed plastic. They are powered by a lithium battery and can make a thousand jumps on only one charge.

“The locust uses mechanical energy in addition to its muscle force in order to generate a jump, and this is exactly what we are imitating,” Dr. Ayali said. “We are using a tiny motor that generates or stores mechanical energy, and this mechanical energy in springs is actually very similar to the locust legs, and that is what propels the robot into the air.”

According to the researchers, the robotic locusts can be used on anything from surveillance to entering situations and locations that are hazardous for humans, such as oil spills.

The researchers also hope to gain a better understanding of the locust’s ability to swarm and implement that feature in the robotic systems.

What will Israeli research think of next? Robo-boils?

JNS.org

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