Rather than building an exact metal and plastic copy of an insect's bones and muscles, Stanford engineer Mark Cutkosky and his students Sean Bailey and Jorge Cham (Cutkosky at left) stripped a cockroach to its essence. The Mini-sprawl has padded feet, with springy couplings and pneumatic pistons that yank the legs up and down. Like a real roach, the robot skitters forward as each set of legs touches the surface. The next step: creating a robot that can turn and vary its speed. Stanford, CA. From the book Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species, page 99 top.