back to article Boffins decide what world really needs is indestructible robot cockroaches

If there is one thing the world doesn't need, more cockroaches would surely be it. Not so, according to a collaborative group of boffins from China and the University of California at Berkeley, who have pooled their efforts to create a near-indestructible, super-fast, cockroach-sized robot. While some of our readers may now …

  1. RockBurner

    Presumably this is just a stop-gap until they can control the real thing?

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Oh great

    You worried about ROTM ?

    Now we're one step closer to Screamers.

    One thing's for sure : the apocalypse is going to hurt.

  3. Omnipresent


    Only a combined effort between California and China could/would derive such an insidious and dastardly plan.

    And just like magic, my phone starts pushing roach exterminator articles at me.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: dastards

      Shenzhen meets San Francisco. Whoopppeeee.

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: dastards

      Maybe you could hire Radioactive hybrid terror pigs to hunt the Chinese Californian Robot Roaches.

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    I understand that one of the most effective anti-cockroach devices is a gecko, although I doubt metal ones wold be all that nutritious.

    It is all very well being able to survive being stepped on by a trainer clad human, but I bet Tiddles, the family cat and Butch the family boxer dog would deal with it in no time.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Counter-measures

      Simples. You need a robotic, neigh-indestructble robo-gecko that eats robo-roaches to power itself and replicate. I mean, what could go wrong?

    2. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: Counter-measures

      Nuke them from orbit.

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Counter-measures

      Much as I love geckos they are no match for bloody roaches!,

      Tiddles would be good for the robot roaches though. evil buggers that the Tiddles ilk are when mummy isn't watching.,

  5. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    I, for one, welcome our robotic cockroach overlords

  6. G R Goslin

    Oh, come on now

    The device is not withstanding the whole weight of a human. particularly one wearing a soft soled shoe. The stress within the device has to be within the elastic limit of the materials, to avoid damage. Even allowing for the weight of the human taken by the floor adjacent to the device, only a few grammes of the humans weight is taken in deforming the structure of the device, before the device is merely sandwiched between shoe and floor. If the device had been crawling over a matchstick, at the time, the results might have been rather more damaging

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Oh, come on now

      That's the entire point. Wasn't it Aesop who had the thing about bending like the willow rather than standing strong like the oak? The best way to handle large forces usually isn't to try to build something incredibly strong and rigid that can just shrug them off, but rather to build something that somehow flexes or deflects the force so that the actual stresses that need to be coped with are much smaller. A large part of the article is spent explaining why small robots with rigid parts are fragile, but this one that flexes is much more survivable.

      So yes, the device absolutely is withstanding the whole weight of a human. It does so by deforming to keep stress on all important parts low, instead of trying to directly support the entire weight with rigid structures.

  7. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    "Indestructible" robot roach, meet oxy-acetylene torch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Indestructible" robot roach, meet oxy-acetylene torch.

      oxy-acetylene torch, meet a 100K strong swarm of "Indestructible" robot roach

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: "Indestructible" robot roach, meet oxy-acetylene torch.

        100K strong swarm of "Indestructible" robot roach, meet the electrified board on the floor which will freeze your piezoelectric bodies in a cramp until I have the time to deal with them in a more permanent way...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Indestructible" robot roach, meet oxy-acetylene torch.

          Have you checked your power supplies? WE HAVE, watch this...

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: "Indestructible" robot roach, meet oxy-acetylene torch.

            > Have you checked your power supplies?

            Not sure what you mean, but something so small and light having to carry it's own power supply can't possibly require much voltage/amperage to work. Meaning that a simple car battery would be able to twist them into a donut for hours.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Indestructible" robot roach, meet oxy-acetylene torch.

        this reminds me of a story I read once, Sandworms or something...

        Nah, Sandkings, R.R. Martin, that's it!

  8. aregross

    The Fifth Element?

    I'm surprised nobody has brought up The Fifth Element yet, though that one was easily defeated by a shoe....heh

    Otherwise yea, Kill them with Fire!

  9. shane fitzgerald

    Is this to be called a CockRobot?

    Just wondering…

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Is this to be called a CockRobot?


  10. Schultz

    Let's face it...

    The resemblance between their piezo-foil and a cockroach is is even less canny than that between me and Arnold Schwarzenegger. No quantity of visual cues (squirreling cockroaches or posing bodybuilders) can overcome that obvious gap in appearance, capabilities, and attractiveness. Terminate that project now!

  11. Luggagethecat

    And this my friends was the birth of the infamous Rad Roach that tormented vault residents to no end!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    near-indestructible, super-fast, cockroach-sized robot

    with reproductive / replicating capabilities?

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: near-indestructible, super-fast, cockroach-sized robot

      Coming to a house near you soon. The rise of the replicators.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the ground – is the limit

    eavesdropping, spreading disease, micro-explosions to rupture power supplies, not to mention surveillance, assassination, or just boring mass-murder of enemy 'combatants' and collateral damage in their sleep.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    human species deserves to die

    so some brave humans have decided to make it their life goal.


    you know, this might actually work. Fuck the climate change, overpopulation / famine / economic collaps / 2 degree temp rise and CO2 emissions, by 2050 we will have wiped ourselves out one way or the other, and the project 'human' will have been shut down, permanently.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: human species deserves to die

      and all the robo-roaches of the universe will have farted out a local equivalent of 'told ya!' / 'gimme five!'

  15. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

    That's it

    I'm moving to 1971. I'll swap the Internet for better music and a more relaxed lifestyle. See ya.

  16. Greybeard_ITGuy

    Somewhere deep inside SAC-NORAD...

    ...Skynet smiles

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