Eek! Remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches are real

Scientists with a high tolerance for creepy-crawlies have figured out how to create and control cyborg cockroaches.

Cyborg cockroach
How would you like to see this scooting across your kitchen floor? North Carolina State University

If Borg ships have vermin on them, they look exactly like a project researchers at North Carolina State University are working on.

These intrepid scientists have taken a lightweight chip with a wireless receiver and transmitter and attached it to a cockroach like a little backpack. For the record, large Madagascar hissing cockroaches are the roach of choice.

A microcontroller is connected to the roach's antennae and cerci (rear sensory organs). Small charges from the wires to the cerci trick the roach into moving in response to a perceived threat. Charges sent to the antennae make the roach think it's bumped into something. Between the two, you have a fairly sophisticated method of cockroach steering.

The researchers imagine using this cyborg cockroach technology to send the little beasties into tight spaces to search for survivors after disasters.

I imagine using this cyborg cockroach technology to scare the bejesus out of unsuspecting friends and for reenacting "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episodes with cockroach actors.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.


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