North Carolina State University researchers have developed an electronic interface that allows them to remotely control cockroaches.
“Our aim was to determine whether we could create a wireless biological interface with cockroaches, which are robust and able to infiltrate small spaces,” says Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. “Ultimately, we think this will allow us to create a mobile web of smart sensors that uses cockroaches to collect and transmit information, such as finding survivors in a building that’s been destroyed by an earthquake.
“Building small-scale robots that can perform in such uncertain, dynamic conditions is enormously difficult,” Bozkurt says. “We decided to use biobotic cockroaches in place of robots, as designing robots at that scale is very challenging and cockroaches are experts at performing in such a hostile environment.”
If you want to see the iBionicS Lab video of the cockroach under zombie control, watch this clip here:
How does it work?
The researchers attach wires to the antennae and use them as electronic reins. The small charges in the neural tissue trick the cockroach into thinking that they’ve bumped into a barrier, so they think they have to go in a different direction.
You can read more at The Abstract.