Researchers create cyborg cockroach


Researchers from Texas University have designed a remote-controlled insect cyborg by fusing a live cockroach with a miniature computer wired into their nervous system.

Hong Liang, research project leader at Texas A&M University, said that insects can do things a robot cannot and they could go into small places, sense the environment, and if there was movement, from a predator say, they could escape much better than a system designed by a human.

The Texan-based experts stuck miniature three-gramme rucksacks onto the cockroaches’ backs with paint, containing a computer chip which sends signals down two tiny wires into the nervous system to control leg movement and rechargeable battery.

Researchers’ report, titled ‘Locomotion control of hybrid cockroach robots’, said that through the control of the input signal using a transmitter, a user can control the locomotion of the discoid cockroach with high repeatability.

The report added that the current system requires visual feedback from the operator in order to apply the necessary pulse characteristics to control the roach’s turning behaviour and this method requires the operator to have extensive experience, as well as constant visual contact with the roach.