Meet Japan’s cyborg, Bluetooth-enabled search and rescue cockroach

Meet Japan’s cyborg, Bluetooth-enabled search and rescue cockroach

One of the features of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the fusion of Biotechnology with Information Technology. In this most recent example, researchers in Japan have figured out how to mount a small Arduino circuit board with battery and solar panel onto the back of a Madagascar hissing cockroach, and use these electronics to stimulate the ‘roaches leg muscles so that it can be remotely controlled using Bluetooth!

Why? Well, the first application seems to be for search-and-rescue operations where the cockroach can be sent into dangerous piles of rubble with tight spaces to search for survivors … Really.

The engineering constraints are pretty interesting and learn far more towards the physical considerations than I would have expected – the researchers had to balance power consumption of the electronics with the power generation of the solar cell and battery whilst keeping everything lightweight and without inhibiting movement of the insect’s body.

Arstechnica has a great writeup on the project, with more details available from the original paper published in Nature. An image from the paper is excerpted below

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