When it comes to smart design, nature has had a bit of a head-start, well about four billion years. It's no wonder then that scientists have decided to use cheat-codes and copy designs that are already at work.
Zoobots- robots inspired by biological organisms are being created all around the world. From creepy, crawly spider-like bots to ape-like machines, engineers are creating a whole new family of robots that can survive in all conditions.
Seriously though, some of these designs inspire more fear than awe. They look like they've been developed to scare people rather than bots designed to assist search and rescue operations.
Here is a list of zoobots that made news this year.
Flight of the RoboBee-
A tiny machine, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, recently took its first flight in a Harvard University lab, ending a decade of cutting-edge research and taking robotics to a whole new level.
The fly-inspired bot has two wafer-thin wings that flap at a rate of about 120 times per second. According to its developers, RoboBee could be used in many fields from environmental monitoring to search and rescue operations to even crop pollination.
The bot that doesn't mind crashing
This crash-happy drone can survive many collisions. Designed and built by a team in Switzerland at the Ecole Polytechnique Federerale de Lausanne, the Gimball can assist in monitoring dangerous territories.
The bot weighs about 30oz and is nearly 13 inches in length. According to Adrien Briod, co-creator of the robot, Gimball can carry weights up to 30 grams.
Planet of Apes- Monkey Robots could Explore the Final Frontier
The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) built an ape-like robot that walks on its knuckles. iStruct Demonstrator could be used to explore space in the future.
We wonder if the researchers have seen Planet of Apes.
Is that a Fish?
Robots that explore vast depths of the ocean aren't new. But, EU-funded FILOSE project (Robotic fish locomotion and sensing) takes the idea of underwater bots to a whole new level. A latest FILOSE has a robot prototype that looks and acts like a rainbow trout.
Tallinn University of Technology recently unveiled their turtle-inspired robot that can be used to investigate shipwreks. The U-CAT has four flippers that allow it to move up and down and tumble in all directions.
University of Buffalo and Harvard University researchers are currently trying to decode a stingray's movement to design a new class of submarines.
Robot that 'Flies' like a Jellyfish!
New York University recently presented their version of a bot that flies, curiously, like a jellyfish! Its creators describe the bot as "kind of dumb" because it has a simple design and no few sensors.