Scientists have developed a way to control insects using solar powered backpacks. This can change the way we inspect the environment forever. This little guy and his backpack can tell us everything we want to know. (Photo via Nature)
Just when you thought cockroaches were only good for… well, nothing, a special team of scientists have made them into our ticket for environmental exploration. Scientists have developed a way to make little cyborg insects by attaching a minuscule solar-powered battery to none other than our 6-legged friend, the cockroach. Why on earth would someone want to create tiny robots out of one of the most hated and feared insects on our planet, you may ask? Because these guys are just small enough and indestructible enough to get the job done.
We have all heard the old adage that the only thing to survive the apocalypse will be cockroaches, and this strength makes them the perfect candidate for environmental exploration. Scientists plan on using these small cyborgs to scope out any hazardous and dangerous environments that we cannot get to and to learn more about areas we have yet to explore.
This isn't the first time scientists have combined technology and animals. For the past few years, robotic technology has been used to create realistic, mechanical animals to learn more about the environment. These include, but are not limited to, bees, falcons, and different types of fish. This has been primarily used to learn how animals themselves interact with the environment, but with the cyborg cockroach, we can learn about much more.
What makes this little guy different is that he is 100% a real insect, fitted with a small battery pack to help scientists control his movements and directions. To make this work, scientists have to make sure that they can control the bugs for long enough that they can get the information they need. This solar paneled battery pack on a cockroach is a first of its kind and allows for the cockroaches to move naturally, fix themselves upright if they get flipped around, and accommodate their abdominal changes over time, all while allowing the scientist to have complete control for long stretches of time.
Although the idea of a walking cyborg cockroach sounds like something out of a B-movie horror flick, the reality is actually quite stunning and wondrous. The possibilities of environmental research that can come out of this are astounding when thought about. We just may have to be extra careful where we step in the meantime!
This all boarders on animal use in testing that just doesn't site right with me. See my comic about this after the jump.
Let me know how you feel about these insects being used like this, in the comments below.
Have a story tip? Message me at: http://twitter.com/Cabe_Atwell