• Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cyborg cockroaches

Designed to clean up cities

Mail Online

It may sound like a terrifying science fiction baddie, but Japanese researchers have revealed the first cyborg cockroaches -- and say they could help keep our cities clean.
The team created a radical new battery that creates energy from sugar in the insect's body.
They now hope to build giant 'swarms' of their cyber insects to create large sensor networks for chemicals and pollutants.
Osaka University and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology co-developed the fuel cell, which measures 20 x 15mm and can be mounted on an insect.
They say the work will lead to forming a wireless sensor network with cyborg insects.
The fuel cell was announced at IEEE MEMS 2014, a San Francisco conference.
If the power source is combined with a technology to control an insect, it will become possible to use insects for wirelessly transmitting various sensor signals.
Flying cyborg insects might realise a wide-area sensor network, eliminating the need to deploy many wireless sensor networks, and be able to go into dangerous areas.
"Insects are extremely successful animals, living almost everywhere on the earth," the researchers wrote.
"High performing micro-robots have been developed by mimicking their functions and structures.
"Insect cyborgs which are robots controlled by electric stimulation of their brains and neurons are desired for rescue, environmental monitoring and working in a radiation environment."
However, researchers have, until now, found it tough to power the cockroach-mounted gadgets.
"We generated power using electrochemical reactions with trehalose," the researchers said.
"We expect an onsite semi-permanent power source for insect cyborgs will be possible by combining the IH-BFC and the self-circulation system," they added.

 

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Last modified: 9:54 pm Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Comment Policy