The UC Berkeley Biomimetics Lab has created DASH (Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod), a cockroach-inspired robot made from laser-cut cardboard laminated with some polymer. It runs fast and can withstand falls of 28 meters, after which it just keeps on about its business.

From MAKE magazine:

make volume 19 cover.gif

In MAKE, Volume 19: Robots, Rovers, and Drones, learn how to make a model plane with an autopilot and a built-in robot brain. We’ll also show you how to make a comfortable chair and footstool out of a single sheet of plywood, a bicyclist’s vest that shows how fast you’re going, and projects that introduce you to servomotors. All this, and lots more, in MAKE, Volume 19! Subscribe here, or buy the issue in the Maker Shed.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern ( is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

  • Anonymous

    seems like a lot of fancy college words for cardboard roach.

    did they just throw “Autonomous” in there for fun? since when does autonomy include wires, or remote controls?

    • Anonymous

      It is completely wireless, actually. It can actually be programmed over bluetooth or controlled directly over bluetooth. In the associated paper, it says it can run full speed for over 45 minutes on its own power.

      • Anonymous

        just because it runs on and on does not make it autonomous. autonomy suggests it can think, not merely run until out of batteries.

        also, you can clearly see wires (look like magnet wire) and someone with a remote after the fall from the roof.

        • Paul

          The robot has two sets of electronics, a quick and dirty one that I ripped from an RC toy (the remote-controlled version) and another that has bluetooth, a little PIC processor, and motor driver. Another student in our lab created the PIC board and can use a cellphone camera to achieve control based on optical feedback. The optical control was not the focus of this paper and thus didn’t make it into the video due to time constraints. Instead the DASH paper and video were focused mostly on design and key performance metrics.

          The magnet wire in that video is actually the antenna from the toy electronics (I used the video despite this because the shot was just too good), and I used the remote control in the clip in which I spike DASH because I wanted it to run right away after it impacted and we don’t (yet) have an accelerometer to detect impacts and a timer was too crude and unnecessarily complicated.

          I appreciate that you are watching the video so closely!

  • Simon
    • Becky Stern

      Yeah, we realized, but after someone has left a comment we usually leave it, even if it is a duplicate post. I guess we just like the thing that much!

      • Simon

        Yeah, I like that one so worth posting twice. I am not an Halloween person (it’s sooooo American) so I don’t mind the change in subject :)

        Just keeping the ed’s honest!