Robert Full studies cockroach legs and gecko feet. His research is helping build the perfect "distributed foot" for tomorrow's robots, based on evolution's ancient engineering.
UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full is fascinated with cockroach legs that allow them to scuttle at full speed across loose mesh and gecko feet that have billions of nano-bristles to run straight up walls. He's using his research to design the perfect robotic "distributed foot," adding spines, hairs and other parts to metal legs and creating versatile scampering machines.
He's helped create robots, such as Spinybot, which can walk up sheer glass like a gecko -- and he even helped Pixar create more realistic insect animations in the film A Bug's Life.
"Dr Full cheerfully admits that some of his real-life critters can be disgusting, but they offer valuable insights into how to conquer challenging terrain."The Economist