There may be a time when the sight of a cockroach crawling toward you brings joy and relief, rather than disgust. US university researchers have developed ‘cyborg cockroaches’ to help save human lives in search-and-rescue missions.
The new project from scientists at North Carolina State University has cockroaches equipped with electronic backpacks and microphones that control the insects’ movements and help locate humans in enclosed spaces. The remote-controlled cockroaches – or “biobots” – are programmed to save people’s lives in case of disasters, such as the aftermath of earthquakes.
“Insect biobots, with a natural ability to crawl through small spaces, offer unique advantages over traditional synthetic robots,” says the study, titled “Acoustic Sensors for Biobotic Search and Rescue.”