Michael Bay Presents: The Metamorphosis
June 1, 2016 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Please enjoy this video of a cockroach firing a cannon mounted on its back.

Rather than portending a escalation in the cockroach/tenant wars, this cockroach mounted artillery actually has a legitimate scientific purpose. Professor Robert Full at UC Berkeley studies the science of locomotion.

From Science News:
By sticking tiny cannons on the backs of cockroaches to see how their recoil jars the insects' balance, researchers have added firepower to a new mathematical model that explains how roaches move so nimbly. The model has already helped them design a better robot bug.
News blurb and full article from the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Jindrich built the tiny cannon from a plastic pen and fired it with gunpowder to deliver a 10 ms jolt while the insect was running. He videoed the insect's recovery with three high-speed cameras and repeated the experiment without firing the cannon so that he could see how quickly the insect recovered from being knocked sideways. After months of patiently analysing the cockroaches' perturbed trajectories, the two scientists realised that the insects successfully regained their course in the space of a single step, without even breaking their stride. They were able to self-stabilize faster than their nervous system was likely to control the recovery, just as the mathematical model predicted.
Open access pdf of the article from UC Berkeley.

For more high speed videos of roaches and robots, visit the PolyPEDAL YouTube channel.
posted by Existential Dread (14 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
This, this is what World War XIV will be fought with.
posted by numaner at 8:36 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The cannon is mounted sideways - I guess this means the cockroach wars will use a line of battle.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:46 AM on June 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


That video was 2011. When are they going to come swarming out of their hidden cockroach fortresses?
posted by lagomorphius at 8:50 AM on June 1, 2016


Jesus, *please* don't arm them!
posted by ryanshepard at 8:52 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Muscles do not act solely as power generators, but also as springs, brakes, struts and, as our findings support, stabilizers. We hypothesize that musculoskeletal preflexes contribute to stabilizing rapid locomotion.
Interesting! I had never heard of the concept of "preflexes", with the intrinsic structure of the musculoskeletal system acting as a more immediate response than any neural reflex.
posted by Kabanos at 8:58 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


It is also totally awesome that they named the rocket/cannon a "RIP apparatus".
posted by Kabanos at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have no idea how these people got their roaches stuck under their cannons, or why.
posted by komara at 9:02 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


That video was 2011.

Actually, the paper was published in 2002, but for whatever reason MeFi never picked up on it. I shudder to think the battle preparations that have been made in the intervening years.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:04 AM on June 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Rather than portending a escalation in the cockroach/tenant wars

I think the Doctor can take care of him.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 9:29 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


The cannon is mounted sideways - I guess this means the cockroach wars will use a line of battle.

Crossing the T!
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:41 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, the trailer for Fallout 5 pretty much writes itself...
posted by wintermind at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2016


I now very badly want to play a game about arming and programming tiny robot cockroaches to make miniature attack runs in battles under the fridge.
posted by cortex at 10:04 AM on June 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


May I just say that Existential Dread posting this is the most eponysterical post ever?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Missed opportunity for a Slayer soundtrack!
posted by Bob Regular at 12:56 PM on June 1, 2016


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