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Lessons from cockroaches could inform robotics

U-M engineers are analyzing the reflexes of cockroaches to aid in developing steadier robots. Professor Shai Revzen is recording the reaction of running cockroaches being shoved sideways, discovering that their body kicks in before their dawdling nervous system can tell it what to do.

These new insights on how biological systems stabilize could one day help engineers design steadier robots and improve doctors’ understanding of human gait abnormalities.

ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: Shai Revzen ( is an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science ( at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the role of mechanical dynamics in the control of animal and robot motion.

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