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A Cyborg Cockroach Could Someday Save Your Life


Using insects as platforms for small robots could help improve improve control of future biobots.

A cyborg cockroach created by University of Connecticut researchers is equipped with a novel microcircuit that allows more reliable and precise control of robotic insect motion.

Credit: Getty Images

University of Connecticut researchers have created a cyborg cockroach equipped with a novel microcircuit that allows more reliable and precise control of robotic insect motion.

The microcircuit incorporates a nine-axis inertial measurement unit that can detect the roach's six degrees of free motion, its linear and rotational acceleration, and its compass heading.

In addition, the researchers added a sensor that analyzes the ambient temperature surrounding the insect, because tests have shown that the temperature of the local environment can affect how and where the insect moves.

The microcircuit is part of a small electronic "backpack" that can be strapped to the cockroach. Wires from the devices are attached to the insect's antennae lobes, and a tiny Bluetooth transmitter and receiver allows a nearby operator to control the roach's movements via an ordinary cellphone.

University of Connecticut researcher Abhishek Dutta says, "The use of insects as platforms for small robots has an incredible number of useful applications, from search and rescue to national defense."

From University of Connecticut
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