Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meet the Remote-Controlled Cockroach

What if someone told you that one day, a remote-controlled cockroach could save your life? I know what you're thinking: gross, right? Once you get past the idea and the picture below, you'll find that science has done it again! A group of researchers from North Carolina State University have developed method to steer and remotely control cockroaches via an electronic interface. Finally, the age-old pests may become useful.

Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NC State and co-author of the project's paper, recently presented the group's findings at the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in San Diego, CA. 

Since cockroaches can survive nearly anything, Bozkurt and his colleagues have decided to celebrate their resilience and small size. As he told Discovery News, "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."

To learn more about the cheap, lightweight computer chip equipped with a wireless receiver used to transmit signals to the roaches, check out Nic Halverson's analysis on Discovery News.