Semi-robotic insects that can be controlled with a mobile phone are being developed by researchers.
File this under, “I couldn’t make this up.”
The unusual project is being debuted at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh and is designed to be a neuroscience learning tool. The brainchild of scientist Greg Gage, the “RoboRoach” will be equipped with a special backpack that can communicate directly with the neurons in the insect’s antennae.
“This is not just a gimmick, the technique is the same as that used to treat Parkinson’s disease and in cochlear implants,” said Gage. “The point of the project is to create a tool to learn about how our brain works. We are pretty certain that this doesn’t impose pain on the insect and they still have free will because they adapt very quickly and ignore the stimulation.”
Once the backpack is placed on the insect, its movements controlled via a mobile phone or other device by communicating directly with the neurons in the cockroach’s antennae. This allows the user to control what direction the insect moves.
“This is not just a gimmick, the technique is the same as that used to treat Parkinson’s disease and in cochlear implants,” Gage told BBC News. The point of the project? To create a tool to learn about how our brain works.
I say, the next thing you know, someone is going to invent a flying spider then we’re all screwed.
Thoughts? Let me know in the comments…