Many people are afraid of rats; however, they can be incredibly useful!
For example, a team of researchers from Peking University, led by Professor Qing Shi, have developed a robot in the shape of a rat. It can enter narrow spaces which are difficult for anyone to reach. It is based on the body of the Rattus Norvegicus, a grey rat famous for its ability to crawl through the narrowest gaps or overcome difficult obstacles. The robot is called SQuRo, an acronym for a "Four-legged robot baby rat."
The SQuRo has two flexible and movable parts at the waist and limbs, enabling the robot to fold or twist to fit any crevice shape, even if it is 90mm wide. SQuRo can also climb at a 15 degrees angle, easily jump over obstacles 3 cm high and land on four legs after falling. The turning radius of the body of the robot is also 0.48, which is currently a record for other similarly sized robots.
The robot rat weighs only 220 grams; however, it can carry the same weight as cameras or sensors. Additionally, SQuRo is equipped with special gravity sensors, so it can independently determine its position and prevent itself from falling. To maintain balance, the rat can switch between four modes of movement.
The robot will primarily search for people in ruins and trapped under rubble after earthquakes or building collapses. Likewise, the robot can be sent to hard-to-reach places, for example, to check the strength of a building's foundation and other construction safety measures.
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