Cyborg cockroaches powered by solar energy could save your life

An international team of specialists has developed a system that designs remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches, which can be controlled by a small wireless module for inspection and monitoring of dangerous environments.

According to a paper published in the online npj Flexible Electronics journal, the picture frame module is powered by a rechargeable battery attached to a solar cell that ensures the continuous flow of energy through the battery.

With their wireless leg-control module and lithium polymer battery attached to the segment on the thorax of the Madagascar cockroach, the team attempted to observe the insect. The model vehicle had a backpack, which was modeled after the body of a model insect, and the team was able to observe the cockroach as it ran around.

Despite the design of increasingly efficient machines, the insects are in a position to move freely in ultrathin electronics and flexible materials, making cyborg insects a feasible possibility.

“The team experimented with Madagascar cockroaches, which are approximately 6 cm long. They attached the wireless leg-control module and lithium polymer battery to the top of the insect on the thorax using a specially designed backpack, which was modeled after the body of a model cockroach,” said LeKenjiro Fukuda, lead researcher at RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR).

“Considering the deformation of the thorax and abdomen during basic locomotion, a hybrid electronic system of rigid and flexible elements in the thorax and ultrasoft devices in the abdomen appears to be an effective design for cyborg cockroaches,” said Fukuda.

“Moreover, since abdominal deformation is not unique to cockroaches, our strategy can be adapted to other insects like beetles, or perhaps even flying insects like cicadas in the future.”

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