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Science & Technology

Remote control cockroaches developed

By T.K. Randall
September 8, 2012 · Comment icon 60 comments

Image Credit: CC 2.0 Jeremy Lock
Cyborg cockroaches that can be remote controlled may be the future for locating earthquake survivors.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created miniature insect-based 'biobots' by freezing the creatures and then surgically implanting electrodes to their antennae. A small backpack containing the wireless control system is then attached to the insect's back using tiny magnets that are glued in place. The result is a cybernetic cockroach that can be directly controlled with surprising accuracy.

It is hoped that the cyborg insects may prove invaluable by helping to locate survivors within collapsed buildings. The insects could carry small microphones, cameras and a beacon to alert rescue crews to people trapped under the rubble.
Cockroaches that are surgically transformed into remote-controlled "biobots" could help locate earthquake survivors in hard-to-access areas.


Source: National Geographic | Comments (60)




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Comment icon #51 Posted by Atlantia 12 years ago
Compared to all the other animals I would think they would be pretty impressed with us. Only if they came here with the intention of slaughter. Then they might well look at the endless species we've made extinct and the way we have exterminated the majority of the worlds predatory species and be quite impressed.
Comment icon #52 Posted by Lilly 12 years ago
I really don't think cockroaches are in danger of extinction. Neither are the domestic animals humans eat. I guess one could make a moral argument regarding killing anything. Be advised though, there's some research indicating even plants may have rudimentary sensation....doesn't leave much to live on does it? Basically, nature is predatory, lifeforms use other lifeforms to live,
Comment icon #53 Posted by Junior Chubb 12 years ago
I really don't think cockroaches are in danger of extinction. Neither are the domestic animals humans eat. I guess one could make a moral argument regarding killing anything. Be advised though, there's some research indicating even plants may have rudimentary sensation....doesn't leave much to live on does it? Basically, nature is predatory, lifeforms use other lifeforms to live, Wow! When vegans start to only eat synthetic food, what are they going to call themselves? Thetics? Hang on Lilly, are you taking us off-topic?
Comment icon #54 Posted by Lilly 12 years ago
Hang on Lilly, are you taking us off-topic? Not trying to...trying more to focus on the natural order of things verses ones personal dietary choices. Various species use other species, that's nature. Humans using cockroaches (or other animals) isn't really contrary to nature. Now, wiping out an entire species that's contrary (pretty horrible actually).
Comment icon #55 Posted by Junior Chubb 12 years ago
Not trying to... Good girl, I wouldn't like to have to come down hard on you. Various species use other species, that's nature. Humans using cockroaches (or other animals) isn't really contrary to nature. Indeed, there are lots of relationships in the natural world, most are positive for both parties. This might not be positive for both parties, but I don't see any mistreatment going on here, well no more than with other animals we manipulate into working for us.
Comment icon #56 Posted by tipotep 12 years ago
It's simply a variation on the usual argument that those opposed to a moral or ethical stance wheel out to try and undermine it. And it just doesn't. It's a big concept and I don't blame you for not quite 'getting it'. It's certainly not about accidentally stepping on a bug. If you want base your personal morality on being able to devalue any ethical point to whether you could make someone compromise an ethical stance based on that point given enough duress or consequences sufficiently dire, then you don't need to stop at torturing insects. But whatever the hypothetical result, what you certai... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by Atlantia 12 years ago
I really don't think cockroaches are in danger of extinction. Neither are the domestic animals humans eat. I guess one could make a moral argument regarding killing anything. Be advised though, there's some research indicating even plants may have rudimentary sensation....doesn't leave much to live on does it? Basically, nature is predatory, lifeforms use other lifeforms to live, The question is one of morality and ethics. Such concerns are not influenced by whether a species is rare or plentiful. To point out the evolutionary imperative 'survival of the fittest' is a truism, what exactly does... [More]
Comment icon #58 Posted by Atlantia 12 years ago
Its a thin line and I don't agree with you but i have to admire you for your stance Personally I think it would be a good thing if it can save lives , and I'm sure the majority of people would agree . Have a great day ! ( or night ) depending on where you live . TiP. Fair play. Best Regards Atlanita
Comment icon #59 Posted by Hilander 12 years ago
I have a hard time worrying about the treatment of cockroaches. They have been around forever and outlasted the dinosaurs and will probably outlast humans. What is a bigger concern to me is how will they be used.
Comment icon #60 Posted by Lilly 12 years ago
The question is one of morality and ethics. Such concerns are not influenced by whether a species is rare or plentiful. Well, my personal sense of what's moral and ethical has a great deal to do with whether a species is rare of plentiful. For example, I wouldn't hesitate to eat a domestic chicken, but I would not eat any bird on the endangered species list.


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