Cockroaches are known to be durable little creatures, which makes them ideal candidates for scientific study. Now scientists are trying to hardwire the bugs to allow humans to remotely control them, Gizmodo reported.
There have apparently been attempts in the past to control cockroaches’ motor functions, however previous experiments have relied on electrically stimulating the roach’s antennae externally, which tricks it into thinking there is an obstacle in its path.
Now, researchers from Texas A&M University have developed a way to access the cockroaches’ nervous system for a more consistent approach.
The team outfits the cockroaches with little “backpacks” that contain a little microchip that is implanted into their nervous system. By connecting electric wiring a micro-controller through the nervous system—specifically the pro-ganglion nerve cells—the researchers are able to control the insect just like you would a remote-control car.
The team is calling it a “remotely controlled hybrid robotic system.”
They believe that the insect could be outfitted with tiny video cameras and microphones that would allow for data-collection in hard-to-access areas that humans cannot get to. For example, rescue teams could use remote-controlled cockroaches to sift through build debris or damaged structures.
Cockroaches are able to carry up to five times their own body weight, which makes them valuable to this type of research.