North Carolina State University researchers control cyborg cockroaches with Microsoft Kinect
By End the Lie
Researchers at North Carolina State University have not only demonstrated the ability to remotely control cockroaches with an electronic implant but have now shown the ability to control the roaches with a Microsoft Kinect.
“Our goal is to be able to guide these roaches as efficiently as possible, and our work with Kinect is helping us do that,” said Dr. Alper Bozkurt of NCSU in a news release today.
I guess the Kinect isn’t only good for playing video games after all.
The Kinect is also being used by the researchers to collect data and detect how effectively the remotely controlled cockroaches respond to the electrical impulses that are used as the control system.
The end goal, according to the researchers, is to use the cockroaches to “explore and map disaster sites.”
Currently, the insects are following a simple path via autopilot thanks to the Kinect placed overhead.
The technology that allows the Kinect to scan a room could be leveraged in order to help roaches map the interior of a collapsed building, according to the researchers.
“Roaches could also be equipped with microphones to detect survivors, or even small speakers to allow two-way communication between remote rescue crews and people who are trapped,” LiveScience reports.
“We want to build on this program, incorporating mapping and radio frequency techniques that will allow us to use a small group of cockroaches to explore and map disaster sites,” Bozkurt said.
“The autopilot program would control the roaches, sending them on the most efficient routes to provide rescuers with a comprehensive view of the situation,” he added.
Bozkurt and his NCSU team will present their research on July 4 at the annual IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society conference in Osaka, Japan.
Surprisingly, the researchers at North Carolina State University aren’t the only ones looking into creating cockroaches enhanced by technology.
Case Western Reserve University researchers demonstrated the ability to implant biofuel cells into insects which convert sugar into electricity, which is then used power sensors on the insect or manipulate the creature remotely.
There is even a Kickstarter project called RoboRoach aimed at creating cockroaches which could be remote controlled via smartphone.
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