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Cyborg Cockroaches as Emergency Responders

(Photo: Eric Whitmire)

There’s been an earthquake and survivors may be trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. How can you find out? Anyone who goes in is at risk of getting hurt or killed. And disturbing the rubble could lead to further collapses.

That’s where these biobots come in. Dr. Alper Bozkurt of North Carolina State University and his colleagues have developed a means to control the movement of roaches. The roaches carry packs that send them directional signals. They also carry microphones that can detect sounds in confined spaces and transmit them back to rescue workers.

(Video Link)

-via Dave Barry

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I'm sure using actual roaches is only a very short-term stop-gap measure, until robotics catches-up and can make mechanical roaches in large numbers, dirt cheap. A few more years and this will be moot.

Remember, the world's first "guided" bombs were guided by PIGEONS. But it only took a short while before radio control was ready to go and birds were removed from the loop:
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