Sunday, 09 September 2012 11:32

Remote-controlled cockroaches for search-and-rescue operations? Featured


Researchers have developed techniques to remotely control cockroaches with a plan to use them in search-and-rescue operations in confined spaces.

By attaching a tiny electronic 'backpack' (weighing just 0.7g) to a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, researchers at North Carolina State University have been able to control the movement of the insect to clearly follow a pre-defined path.

As can be seen in the image, the implementation is quite crude but clearly shows the possibility of movement in confined spaces.

A video of the cockroach being steered along the path may be seen here.

The controller is wired to the cockroach's antennae and cerci.

The cerci are sensory organs to the rear of the animal, capable of detecting movement in the air suggestive of a predator approaching from behind. By stimulating this area, the cockroach is encouraged to run forwards.

The cockroach is steered by stimulation of the antennae. When one is activated, the cockroach brain interprets this as touching a wll; it turns in the opposite direction.

"Our aim was to determine whether we could create a wireless biological interface with cockroaches, which are robust and able to infiltrate small spaces," says Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. "Ultimately, we think this will allow us to create a mobile web of smart sensors that uses cockroaches to collect and transmit information, such as finding survivors in a building that's been destroyed by an earthquake.

"Building small-scale robots that can perform in such uncertain, dynamic conditions is enormously difficult," Bozkurt says. "We decided to use biobotic cockroaches in place of robots, as designing robots at that scale is very challenging and cockroaches are experts at performing in such a hostile environment."

The backpack includes a wireless receiver/transmitter which permits the remote control of the cockroach. It also includes the microcontroller that manages the stimulus being given to the cockroach.

As component miniaturisation continues, this configuration could be used in the future to permit the cockroach to carry a small video camera, enabling searchers to investigate collapsed structures following earthquakes and similar events.

This research was presented at the 34th Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, San Diego.


As part of our Lead Machine Methodology we will help you get more leads, more customers and more business. Let us help you develop your digital marketing campaign

Digital Marketing is ideal in these tough times and it can replace face to face marketing with person to person marketing via the phone conference calls and webinars

Significant opportunity pipelines can be developed and continually topped up with the help of Digital Marketing so that deals can be made and deals can be closed

- Newsletter adverts in dynamic GIF slideshow formats

- News site adverts from small to large sizes also as dynamic GIF slideshow formats

- Guest Editorial - get your message out there and put your CEO in the spotlight

- Promotional News and Content - displayed on the homepage and all pages

- Leverage our proven event promotion methodology - The Lead Machine gets you leads

Contact Andrew our digital campaign designer on 0412 390 000 or via email



Security requirements such as confidentiality, integrity and authentication have become mandatory in most industries.

Data encryption methods previously used only by military and intelligence services have become common practice in all data transfer networks across all platforms, in all industries where information is sensitive and vital (financial and government institutions, critical infrastructure, data centres, and service providers).

Get the full details on Layer-1 encryption solutions straight from PacketLight’s optical networks experts.

This white paper titled, “When 1% of the Light Equals 100% of the Information” is a must read for anyone within the fiber optics, cybersecurity or related industry sectors.

To access click Download here.


David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.



Recent Comments