Cockroaches With “Backpacks” On The Remote Control
A team of scientists from North Carolina State University led by Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, are working on a very interesting project – sensor-equipped real cockroaches remotely controlled by human operators. It may seem quite strange but there is an explanation to this: cockroaches are amazingly tough, and they’re able to squeeze into remarkably small spaces. First step in a very challenging task of creating such tiny adaptable, robust reconnaissance robots that can help searching earthquake-damaged buildings for survivors is studying sensor-equipped cockroaches. The cockroaches are equipped with “backpacks” containing an inexpensive, lightweight, commercially-available chip, along with a wireless receiver and transmitter, and a microcontroller. That microcontroller is wired into the cockroach’s antennae and cerci. In order to direct the forward movement, either one of the antennae are stimulated. It is important to mention that Bozkurt’s team has already successfully used the technology to guide cockroaches along curved lines on the floor.