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Robotized Insects May Search Collapsed Buildings for Survivors

By The Economist

March 28, 2022

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Researchers at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University have developed robotized insects that could be used to search for survivors in collapsed buildings.

The researchers outfitted Madagascar hissing cockroaches with backpacks featuring a communications chip, a carbon dioxide sensor, a motion sensor, an infrared camera, and a small battery.

The cockroaches are controlled by algorithms that respond directly to the backpack sensors.

The researchers tested the so-called cyber-roaches in a simulated disaster zone spanning 25 square meters, which contained concrete blocks, people, and decoys like a microwave oven and a laptop.

Artificial intelligence programmed into the camera identified signs of life such as movement, body heat, and elevated carbon dioxide levels, sending alerts to rescuers if a survivor has been detected.

The researchers found the software correctly recognized humans 87% of the time.

From The Economist
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