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Friday, January 06, 2006

Remote Control Roaches

[Media: Article]

For whatever reason, I find this whole Robot Cockroach thing fascinating. Scientists basically lop off the Roach's antennae and jack into the bug's nervous system. Perhaps one reason why I find this so interesting is that nobody could honestly say that they feel sorry for any of the Cockroaches if they die. They are, after all, one of the most despised creatures on this planet.
Before surgery, researchers gas the roach with carbon dioxide. Wings and antennae are removed. Where the antennae used to be researchers fit pulse-emitting electrodes. With a remote, researchers send signals to the backpacks, which stimulate the electrodes. The pulsing electrodes make the roach turn left, turn right, scamper forward or spring backward.

But it sounds like there's still a lot of, shall we say, "bugs" in the system. For one, it seems that the Roaches are getting spammed.
Unfortunately spammers are emailing the roaches when they broadcast to cell phones. "We had an incident last week where we sent a roach into an duct to test for an air leak, when we asked the roach to turn right, it responded by asking for our email addresses and offered to send us viagra in return." said Assistant Professor Isao Shimoyama, head of the bio-robot research team at Tokyo University.

Follow the link to read further details. It's all very fascinating and amusing.

Link (via We Make Money Not Art)