We have visually very interesting animals from giant hissing cockroaches to colorful poisonous centipedes.
1. We have found the fastest running insect, the American cockroach, 50 body lengths /sec which is in the Guinness Book of World’s Records.
2. We have discovered the only known animal that rolls actively like a wheel. (Article in Nature)
3. We use jello to measure the forces produced by small animals as they run.
4. We study the exercise physiology of crabs and cockroaches running on treadmills just as one does in humans and found that some animals are extraordinary animal athletes, while others are couch potatoes. (Article in Science)
5. We have contributed to the design of the next generation of legged-robots by providing inspiration from the biology. These will be used for checking pipes at nuclear plants, cleaning toxic wastes, fire and police work, etc.
6. The mechanical energy that you, a crab, a cockroach, a dog or a horse generate to move one meter is 1 Joule relative to body mass, despite the fact that you’re a bit different from these other beasts.
7. Two-, four-, six-, and eight-legged animals all can push on the ground to move in the same way, like a pogo stick, despite their differences in morphology.
8. We have measured the energetics of running up walls and upside-down.
9. We use the same equipment applied to study the motion of Olympic athletes.