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Tracking the Movement of Cyborg Cockroaches

By NCSU News

March 7, 2017

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North Carolina State University's (NCSU) cyborg cockroaches, also known as biobots, can be remotely controlled to carry technology that could scan disaster areas and identify survivors in the wake of catastrophes.

To further explore these capabilities, NCSU researchers conducted a study to determine how far and how fast biobots can move in unfamiliar territory. They placed the biobots in a circular arena, with some roaches allowed to move at will, while others were randomly stimulated to move forward, left, or right.

Unguided biobots preferred to hug the wall of the arena and were less likely to explore the new space. The biobots that were given commands spent more time moving, moved more quickly, and were five times more likely to venture away from the wall.

The "electronic backpacks" carried by the roaches initiate the neural stimulation, sparking the natural instinct to scatter and enabling researchers to remotely scan the area.

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