Certain natural disasters such as earthquakes and Tsunamis often trap high numbers of people under unstable rubble, making search-and-rescue operations very difficult. Cyborg cockroaches might be of critical help for these disasters.

North Caroline State University carried out a study in 2012, where researchers attached electrodes to the antennae of Madagascar hissing cockroaches to steer them. Currently, the team is working on tiny backpacks attached to the back of cockroaches, to transform these critters into moving networks of sensors.

Cyborg cockroaches will soon be tested at mock disaster sites in order to analyze their abilities in picking up calls for help.

The system works likes this: cockroaches' bodies are attached to a 3D-printed mount, which houses electrodes, a two-way radio, a microphone and a lithium-polymer battery. Cockroaches are guided using the radio system and the electrodes attached to their antennae. Then, the microphone picks up SOS calls and transfers them to the base using the two-way radio system.

Cyborg cockroaches are expected to be useful for search-and-rescue operations, where time is of primary importance and it is dangerous to use human rescue teams under unstable rubble.

Story and image via Popular Science

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