An international team of scientists has designed remote-controlled cockroaches, equipped with a battery ‘backpack’ powered by solar panels. The cockroaches are part insect and part machine (called cyborg) and have been created to monitor the environment or help with urban search and rescue missions after a natural disaster, according to a report in CNET. The system is wired into the insect’s nervous system and has a power output about 50 times higher than previous devices, the outlet further said, quoting from the study.
The research has been published in the journal npj Flexible Electronics. Researchers from Japan and other countries have contributed in it.
According to the study, the cyborg system allows scientists to remotely control the legs of the cockroach. The ultrathin and flexible solar cell doesn’t come in the way of the cockroach’s movement, the study further said.
How the system functions?
Pressing a button sends electrical impulses to the sensory organs attacked to the abdomens of the roaches. The shock causes the insect to move left or right, according to CNET.
The sending and receiving of electrical impulses require a battery back, and according to widely-used technology, need to be charged up. Since the insects will be used at critical times, scientists wanted to eliminate the need for them to return and recharge the batteries.
A solar powered battery pack removes the bottleneck, the study said.
Other such experiments
In April, scientists unveiled a mechanic prototype of a rat – named SQuRO (small-sized quadruped robotic rat) – to assist in rescue operations. In a research published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Robotics, said that the small-sized robot can pass through narrow tunnels, rugged terrains and even pick itself up after being kicked over.
The scientists also said that SQuRO has a large cargo capacity (200 g).