Someday your life may be saved by…a cockroach

According to today’s Entomology Today post, scientists at NC State University have found a way to remotely control cockroaches. They hope that the new robo-cockroaches will someday be used to locate victims of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

An assistant professor at North Carolina State University, Dr. Alper Bozkurt, has developed a way to remotely control insects, just as one can remotely control toy cars or helicopters. Beginning with a Madagascar hissing cockroach, he created a “biobot.”

“We implant electrodes in the muscles and the sensory organs of the insects,” Bozkurt said. “We then send very tiny electrical pulses, depending on where the implant is, if it is in the muscle, it creates an actuation of the insect. If the implant is in the sensor organ, it sort of simulates environmental signals and makes the insect think it’s sensing something. A cockroach navigates by using the antenna to understand the physical environment–like a blind person using fingers to understand the surroundings to get a feel of the 3D environment around them. The implant simulates that.”

Read the rest of the story at Entomology Today.

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