Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The latest dirt on remote-controlled cockroaches

"Biobots" "roboroach", and "cyborg roaches" are just a few of the names being given to the emerging technology of driving a remote-controlled cockroach for useful purposes... such as searching for earthquake survivors. As the linked article reasons, why go to the trouble of building a robot to crawl through rubble when nature has already given us a perfect design that's more than up to the task? Roaches can squeeze through tight spaces and seamlessly traverse walls, edges, ceilings, and just about any shape, right side up or upside down! Even our best designs are still years from accomplishing this.

There's a video at that link. Here's a few more examples of this bizarre field of research (trigger warning for anybody with entomophobia):

As this video shows, you could easily make this a flying unit with a little helicopter rigging:

You could also help them on their way by giving them their own ground vehicle to pilot:

And before everyone starts yelling about "cruelty to animals": (1) They're bugs. They process pain/discomfort differently than we do (and how do we know they aren't having a blast anyway?) (2) From exterminators to flyswatters to electronic bug-zappers, we've been killing bugs off en mass practically since we first found one, and nobody's protested yet. Don't pick a time when we're doing important things in science with them to get high-and-mighty now.