Roach rescue

Last week Downtime informed you about how cockroaches were being experimented on using electrical backpacks to control their movements in a bid to tread Parkinson’s disease.

Now, the disgusting creatures will hopefully be used to explore disaster areas to provide rescuers with mapping information and to try and find survivors in collapsed buildings.

Scientists at North Carolina State University are using Microsoft’s Kinect technology to remotely control cockroaches on autopilot, using a computer to steer the cockroach through a controlled environment.

The bugs are controlled by wiring to the roach’s antennae and cerci. The cerci are sensory organs on its abdomen which detects movement in the air. But the researchers use the wires attached to the cerci to spur the roach into motion. While sensors attached to the antennae send electrical charges to trick the roach into think that their antennae are in contact with a barrier and steering them in the opposite direction.

The Kinect is also being used to collect data on how the blighters respond to the electrical impulses from the remote-control steering.

More torture to the little buggers.

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