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Japanese scientists have created a Cyber-Cockroach

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Generally when people think about cockroaches they consider them pests or signs of uncleanliness and squalor. However now, thanks to some intrepid scientists in Japan, a cockroach just might be the key to saving lives in a disaster scenario. That’s right, cyber-roaches are being developed by Kenjiro Fukuda and his team at Thin-Film Device Laboratory, which is part of research company Riken.

A cockroach outfitter with a battery pack being controlled by a scientist using a Bluetooth controller.
Cyber-Cockroaches may be a key tool in disaster aid in the near future.
Source: Reuters

According to a report by Reuters, the team has been working with Madagascar hissing cockroaches in an experiment where they outfit the bugs with extremely thin solar cells on their abdomens. They then attach all the electronics needed to send electrical impulses to the roach's legs and control the bug’s movements which the scientists can control via bluetooth. The logic behind using the bugs is that it takes less battery power to control a cockroach's movements since they already move on their own as opposed to using a remote-controlled robot with a more finite power supply.

The whole system is meant to be as compact and not impede the roaches’ movements as much as possible and they’re hoping that in time they’ll be able to mount cameras and such on the roaches. This could lead to them being used to do things like hunt down people trapped in a collapsed building or other such disasters. However, the cyber-roach technology is still very early in development and has a long way to go. At a recent demonstration the team was able to send commands to get a cockroach to turn left, but when prompted to turn right it simply ran around in circles. Still, this may be the most intriguing new use of the word “cyber” since the Cybertruck was announced.

If you were trapped in a building how do you think you’d react to a swarm of cybernetically-enhanced Madagascar hissing cockroaches coming to your rescue? Let us know in the comments below!

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Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

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