Although the thought of a cyborg cockroach is probably the last thing you want to entertain, the technology being created is being done so with the best of intentions. The RIKEN institute in Japan has developed a rechargeable, remote-controlled cyborg cockroach that may be used for environmental monitoring and search-and-rescue operations in potentially dangerous environments.
These are real cockroaches that have been implanted with technology that gives researchers the ability to direct the behavior of the insects.
In order for the researchers to construct the cyborg cockroaches, they had to build technology that was flexible enough to fit the body of the cockroach, non-restrictive enough to allow the cockroach to move freely, and capable of maintaining battery life. Their answer was a backpack equipped with a battery that could be recharged using solar cells that were incorporated into the backpack. This allowed the cockroach to be stuck for extended periods of time. The group decided to employ solar cells that were extremely thin in order to avoid impeding the movement of the roaches.
Stimulating the wires that are attached to the cockroach’s legs with a battery that is powered by the remote control allows the cockroach’s motions to be remotely controlled. The scientists conducted their research on Madagascar cockroaches, which have a length of six centimeters and do not have wings. They were successful in making the insects turn both left and right for a period of half an hour.
Kenjiro Fukuda, a senior research scientist at RIKEN and the leader of the research team, believes that their strategy can be adapted to other insects such as beetles and cicadas in the future. This is according to a press release that was issued by RIKEN. Despite having been developed specifically on cockroaches, this strategy was developed specifically on cockroaches.