Roaches are small yet extremely mighty insects. They can cause health problems in humans and spread germs around your house, including salmonella. They’re also extremely resilient; watch a cockroach come out unscathed after being weighed down by a hydraulic press. The press pushed down at a force of 900 times the body weight of the roach.
Experiments like this one help researchers learn about building insect-sized robots that can perform life-saving tasks. Insect size robots could do things such as squeeze into piles of rubble after natural disasters to help locate people, or even perform surgery.
“Cockroaches can cause asthma and allergies as they spread their saliva and poop around your home. But scientists think these daring, disgusting disease vectors have something more to offer us than salmonella. American roaches are one of the fastest insects on the planet. They’re also talented athletes, compressing their bodies while scurrying through incredibly tight cracks. The American cockroach can withstand compressive forces totaling over 900 times their body weight! Researchers are using what they’ve learned about roaches to build robots the size of insects, which can squeeze into places humans can’t – like piles of rubble left by major earthquakes or hurricanes. And maybe down the line, much smaller versions of these robots could even enter our bodies to perform life-saving tasks!”