resilience reporter

resilience starts with information

This tiny ‘cockroach robot’ could be the future of search and rescue when disasters strike

 Colossal volcano behind ‘mystery’ global cooling finally found

The ices of Greenland and Antarctica bear the fingerprints of a monster: a gigantic volcanic eruption in 539 or 540 A.D. that killed tens of thousands and helped trigger one of the worst periods of global cooling in the last 2,000 years. Now, after years of searching, a team of scientists has finally tracked down the source of the eruption.

The team’s work, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, lays out new evidence that ties the natural disaster to Ilopango, a now-dormant volcano in El Salvador. Researchers estimate that in its sixth-century eruption, Ilopango expelled the equivalent of 10.5 cubic miles of dense rock, making it one of the biggest volcanic events on Earth in the last 7,000 years. The blast was more than a hundred times bigger than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and several times larger than the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. It dealt the local Maya settlements a blow that forever altered their trajectory…

 

This tiny ‘cockroach robot’ could be the future of search and rescue when disasters strike

robot

A prototype soft robot, which is about the size of a postage stamp, was developed by a group of researchers from China and the US. Its design was inspired by the capabilities of the hardy cockroach. PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Cockroaches are near-indestructible little creatures. These hardy insects have existed since at least 320 million years ago, outliving dinosaurs. A cockroach can also carry loads of up to 900 times its body weight, shrink to a quarter of its height to fit into small crevices and live for a week without its head.

Inspired by the qualities of this humble bug, a group of researchers from China and the United States have created a prototype of a fast-moving and near-indestructible miniature robot, which could potentially replace sniffer dogs in detecting people trapped in rubble after a major earthquake or similar disastrous event…

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