The Italian Almanac

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insect robot

Insect Robot

Italian researchers have developed an 'insect' robot capable of identifying mercury poisoning of the ground. A prototype of the 'insect', which is 10cm long and weighs 80g, was presented to sector experts at a symposium in Switzerland.

"In developing the robot we focused on the way fleas and frogs jump. Robots like these are far more efficient than larger ones in scouring vast areas of land in a shorter time," explained Umberto Scarfogliero of the University of Lucca. "We are now equipping these with special mercury-deteting sensors and will send them out to locate sources of pollution," he added.

"The field of developing robots which imitate animal behavior is very active. Our common goal is to create minuscule robots which can move easily in natural environments," said Cesare Stefanini from Pisa's Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. "Many documentaries made by National Geographic are filmed using cameras mounted on insect robots which can follows the movements of animals from up close."