Researchers have now developed a new method to convert the cockroaches into “Cyborg Cockroaches” which involves controlling its nervous system by computer chip.
Recently researchers from North Carolina State have tried a new method wherein a battery operated micro controller is connected into the nervous system of a live cockroach. Scientists built up a small back pack weighing around 3 grams which contained battery operated computer chip which was attached to the back of a cockroach. Then the chip was connected to the brain in such a way that would control the leg movements of the cockroach. The entire system is wireless and the operator can control movements of the cockroach as per their will and wish and the poor insect will not have any say as its nervous system has been hijacked. In their study, researchers found they could make the cockroach move using sensible stimulation of one or both sides of the nerve bundle. Researchers have named this cyborg cockroach as “remotely controlled hybrid robotic system.” The back pack though small is still an additional burden which can be tiresome for the live cockroaches.
Cockroaches have been used earlier for cyborg treatment, wherein their antennae were stimulated. It was seen that stimulating the antennae would just trick the cockroach to think there is some obstacle ahead and change its direction, however its complete nervous system is not under operator’s control. It was seen that a direct stimulation to the nervous system gave far better results. This is not the first time that a cockroach has been used, scientists have previously attached “Kinetic” to the insect for steering its direction, also in some other study the cockroach was made to survive on its fluid. Cockroaches are small in size and the “robot cockroaches” can be used to reach places which human or a robot cannot reach.
Cyborg cockroaches could someday rescue disaster survivors of the nuclear power plants or collapsed mines. By attaching micro cameras and micro phones the rescuers can even communicate with the survivors who are trapped beneath the debris. Having said that there are chances that these Cyborg cockroaches might also be used for eavesdropping, so be careful of such an insect if you are engaged in some important discussion!! However as of now researchers have converted the pest into most useful robot.