Watch a robotic cockroach launch a robotic bird off of its back

Read on ecnmag.com.

2 robots are better than 1, especially when they work as a team.

Meet VelociRoACH and H2Bird. Together they make the coolest part-walking, part-flying robot duo. The cockroach-bird pairing, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley, combines two forms of locomotion in one platform, taking advantage of the efficiency and endurance of a ground robot with the range and versatility of a flying robot.

The running roach-bot acts as a launch pad for the micro aerial “bird”. H2Bird weighs a little over 13 grams and can go airborne for about 90 seconds but it can’t take on its own—it needs a boost of at least 1.3 meters per second from its counterpart. An angle of attack around 35 to 40 degrees is also required for a successful launch.

The robots are prototypes and remote controlled by hand, but the goal is to make the launch system autonomous. Either way, pretty cool. Watch them prepare for takeoff yourself.

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