Earthquake rescues could be made safer and faster with a new robot being developed at UC Berkeley. The search for a safer way to enter collapsed structures has led to a mechanical cockroach. This robot could one day assist in post-earthquake search and rescue.

"The earthquake in '89, actually, is what inspired some of these small robots. You could send these robots into collapsed buildings, send them through very smalls holes trying to find people and then, using wireless technology, you could relay that information back out to the top and signal where a survivor might be," says Paul Birkmeyer, a grad student in UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering. Birkmeyer has already built nearly a hundred of the little robots. Scavenging parts from cell phones and toys, they've kept the cost to less than $1 each.

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