The Japanese cyborg cockroach may save people in the future

Scientists from the Japanese university RIKEN have created a remotely controlled cockroach. The cyborg cockroach has electronics, powered by energy generated by small solar panels. The miniaturization of robotics makes machines gain many new applications. Small devices are perfect for inspecting various types of structures or searching for survivors of various types of disasters. Building such a robot, however, is not easy, because sufficiently small mechanisms must be created to enable it to move around. A much simpler method can be to use a living organism and turn it into a cyborg and adapt it to the appropriate tasks. Scientists from the Japanese RIKEN institute, whose work is a cyborg cockroach, went in this direction.

A cyborg cockroach will investigate dangerous places

It is a project carried out by an international research team led by the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research institute. Scientists have created a system for creating remotely controlled cyborg cockroachesthat can be used to perform various tasks. The insect was equipped with wireless control module, as well as a battery charged by an ultra-soft organic solar cell. All the electronics are so light and flexible that the cockroach can still move freely. It was packed into a special backpack made with 3D printing technology, which allowed it to be adapted to the shape of the insect, and the link was attached to the abdomen. During the experiment, a species of cockroaches from Madagascar was used, which are about 6 cm long. Thanks to this, it was possible to fit all the equipment on it.

Creating this project was not an easy task at all. In order for an insect to be viable, it must be remotely controlled for an extended period of time. And this means that the electronics on its back should have the energy necessary for its operation all the time. The simplest solution would be to create a charging station, but this would require the cockroach to return to its starting point, which would limit its functionality. So scientists designed special solar cellenabling continuous charging of the battery supplying the electronics. It is only 0.004 mm thick and very efficient. According to the RIKEN team, it is able to achieve an output power of as much as 17.2 mW. It may not seem like much. In practice, this power is 50 times greater than that achieved by the most modern devices for collecting energy on live insects.

Insect powered by solar energy

The module uses Bluetooth technology to communicate wirelessly with the server that is responsible for the movement of the insect. Signals from the server are sent to the module. This one then by means of electrical stimulation, it forces the insect to follow a certain direction.

Karaluch cyborg

What would such a cyborg be useful for? Contrary to appearances, there can be quite a lot of applications for such technology. A small insect would be perfect for rescue, inspection of hazardous areas, etc. If, for example, a building collapsed and it was necessary to check for survivors under the rubble, it could be sent to the rubble. Of course, these are just a few examples of how this project can be used. Such technology would certainly also be of interest to the military. A small insect could become the perfect spy, allowing it to infiltrate an enemy’s hideout. If you are interested in this project and you want to learn more about it, detailed information can be found on this page. Source