Japanese Scientists Built Remote Controlled Cyborg Cockroaches

Japanese Scientists at the Riken institute’s Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) have built a remote-controlled cyborg Cockroach using solar panels. The researchers used wires to stimulate the leg segments of Madagascar cockroaches, which were 6cm long.

The backs of the insects were covered with an extremely thin solar panel that charged batteries housed in specially built backpacks. After thirty minutes of charging the battery with artificial sunlight, the researchers were able to use a remote control to make the cockroaches turn left and right.

The researchers intend to apply the method to cyborg cockroaches built to investigate risky areas or monitor the environment in difficult-to-reach locales. Previous attempts to create cyborg cockroaches involved changing batteries or using a wiring setup, but these methods would be impractical for the technology's final application.

The organic solar cell's ultra-thinness and flexibility, as well as how it was attached to the insect, enabled movement freedom. When the scientists closely analyzed the motions of cockroaches in their natural surroundings, they observed that the abdomen changes shape and sections of the exoskeleton overlap.

To accomplish this, they alternated adhesive and non-adhesive regions onto the films, allowing the films to stretch while retaining their attachment. When thicker solar cell films or uniformly linked films were tested, the cockroaches needed twice as long to reach the same distance. They had difficulty standing up on their backs as well.

Dr. Kenjiro Fukuda, a senior research scientist at Riken who conducted the study, commented on the success, saying that because cockroaches are not the only insects that may acquire abnormal abdominal structures, the procedure could someday be utilized on beetles or even flying insects like cicadas.

"Considering the deformation of the thorax and abdomen during fundamental locomotion," stated Dr. Kenjiro Fukuda, "a hybrid electronic system of rigid and flexible parts in the thorax and ultrasoft electronics in the abdomen looks to be an effective design for cyborg cockroaches." "Moreover, because abdominal deformation is not limited to cockroaches, our technique could be applied to other insects such as beetles, or even flying insects such as cicadas in the future."

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