To survive while being chased by predators, gecko lizards leap off ledges at top speed, then use their rear feet as grappling hooks to catch themselves before they fall. The wily animals then swing to the underside of the ledge, disappearing from a predator’s view. University of California, Berkeley, biomechanics and computing experts analysed the manoeuvre in order to train a six-legged robot to do the same. The ultimate goal is to produce small search-and-rescue robots that can match the agility of lizards over broken terrain to reach victims quickly. The researchers fit the robot’s rear legs with Velcro for grip. – Alex Hutchinson

 

Video: Watch the video Geckos and cockroaches – the perfect escape artists to catch UC Berkeley’s hexapedal DASH robot in action.