Search and Rescue Cockroach Cyborg


Photo: Alper Bozkurt/North Carolina State University

You may say "yuck" today, but if you are ever unfortunate enough to be trapped inside the rubble of an earthquake-damaged building, you'd be glad to see this cockroach search and rescue cyborg!

Alper Bozkurt of the North Carolina State University worked up a way to remotely control cockroaches:

Their remote control system consists of two parts: antennae stimulators and another on their rear end.

Cockroaches use their antennae to feel their way around the environment. “What we do is we insert tiny electrodes to the antennae and we send low-power pulses [to them],” Bozkurt said.

The pulse simulates the antenna feeling an obstacle, such as a wall, causing the cockroach to turn the other direction. Buzz the left antenna, the cockroach turns right; buzz the right one, the bug turns left.

Spurring the cockroaches to scurry forward comes via a sensor on their rear end called cerci “which senses if there is a predator trying to reach from behind. When they feel something, they just go in the forward direction to run away from the predator,” Bozkurt explained.

“So, we use that to make the insect go forward and antenna electrodes to make it go left and right.”

John Roach (really) has the story over at Future of Tech: Link


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