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Have Scientists Created the First Living Remote-Control Cockroach?

posted: 03/17/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Remote-control cockroach
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Researchers at Texas A&M University are able to control this cockroach's front legs using electrodes.
Carlos Sanchez, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University

Entomologists from Texas A&M University have created a hybrid cockroach-robot. Using a remote-controlled set of electrodes implanted into the cockroach's brain (and stored in a contraption attached to the insect's back), researchers are able to stimulate the neurons that control the cockroach's front legs and control the direction of its movement.

Attempting to control the movement of a cockroach is nothing new - but researchers just now seem to be getting it right. For decades, scientists have been attempting to use cockroaches for search and rescue purposes. However, previous studies produced methods that were promising yet ultimately too unreliable for wide-scale deployment.

In an interview with NPR, researcher Dr. Hong Liang noted that roaches in the study responded accurately to the stimuli 60% of the time. "The goal is 100 percent," she added. "We are confident we're going to reach there."

Click here for more coverage from NPR & click here to read the full study

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