Researchers turn cockroaches into cyborgs to help in search and rescue efforts

Researchers turn cockroaches into cyborgs to help in search and rescue efforts

According to a recent Engadget report, a new technology has been developed by researchers at North Carolina State University which turns cockroaches into cyborgs - or biobots - that can help in search and rescue efforts following a disaster.

The technology developed by the NC State University researchers essentially capitalizes on the resilient nature of cockroaches, giving them the ability to capture sound via small microphones as well as discover the source of the sound.

To enable cockroach cyborgs to assist in rescue and relief missions, the cyborgs are equipped with tiny electronic backpacks which control their movements.

The researchers have customized two types of electronic backpacks with which the cyborgs can be equipped. One of the backpacks features a single multi-directional microphone which can capture relatively high-resolution sound that is transmitted wirelessly to first responders; while the other backpack features multiple three-directional microphones that detect the location of the sound towards which the cyborgs are instinctively directed.

Noting that the key objective behind the technology is to use cyborg cockroaches with high-resolution microphones to distinguish between important and unimportant sounds, one of the researchers, Dr. Alper Bozkurt, said: "Once we've identified sounds that matter, we can use the biobots equipped with microphone arrays to zero in on where those sounds are coming from."

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