Ever notice how some caterpillars can recoil violently when bothered? Researchers at Tufts University are intrigued by this behavior, and have built a lightning-fast robot that replicates it.
GoQBot, described in a study in the journal Bioinspiraton & Biomimetics, emulates the "ballistic rolling" escape tactic employed by some Crambidae caterpillars. The bugs curl into a wheel when threatened and leap to safety.
The recoil happens within 100 milliseconds, which the Tufts researchers led by Huai-Ti Lin, describe as "one of the fastest self-propelled wheeling behaviors in nature."
Exactly how the caterpillars achieve this is a bit … Read more