It sounds horrifying if you have any type of phobia surrounding insects, but researchers from North Carolina State University are testing something new. A Cyborg cockroach. Yeah, it sounds like a weekend SyFy movie, but when you think about it – you will go ‘huh, that’s a good idea.’
The pair of researchers have devised a way to control the cockroaches via a circuit board on their backs, and detection equipment will detect sounds all the way down to a faint voice. Incredibly useful in various search and rescue missions.
Obviously the above picture is not the final product, but the device, dubbed an electronic backpack, contains a microphone to detect voices. The insects would work in pairs, one used as detection, and the other to follow directions sent from the sensor.
What’s the ideal scenario? Building collapses due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, terrorists attacks or structural failures. Time is life in this scenario, and the ability to deploy insects to find trapped people would enable the rescue effort to be pinpointed.
This has the potential to completely change the face of search and rescue. Imagine teams being deployed with these to earthquake zones to look for survivors. The cockroaches become the living UAV for the teams searching for survivors.
One problem that has already been addressed is the fact that these areas are normally loud. How do you prevent the cockroach from wandering off towards any sound? The pairs work within what amounts to an invisible fence. The fence also works to lead the pair back to sources of light to recharge its ‘backpack.’
With devices becoming smaller and smaller, you have to wonder how long until a camera gets attached. It would aid the search and rescue teams even more by checking structural integrity of where digging will take place.
Check out both videos below that explain the acoustic steering, and the invisible fence. You may hate the sight of cockroaches, but if one saved my life, I think tossing the Raid can is the least I could do as a thanks.