"Cockroaches are incredible. They can run fast, turn on a dime ... and react to perturbations faster than a nerve impulse can travel," Oregon State University researcher John Schmitt said.
Robots can walk, but none of them can run as well as insects, and even just walking they absorb too much energy and computing power to be very useful, Schmitt wrote in a recent issue of the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.
A cockroach only slows down 20 percent when going over blocks that are three times higher than its hips, Schmitt's studies showed.
"That's just remarkable, and an indication that their stability has to do with how they are built, rather than how they react," Schmitt said.