Although the chosen insect might be the least popular, the functionality with which they were created could help inspect dangerous areas or monitor the environment.
Called robo-bugs, the hybrid machines that take advantage of the anatomy of the insect, in this case Madagascar cockroaches, and developed by a team of researchers from Japan, whose internal system allows them to be controlled remotely, in addition to being equipped with a wireless control module that is powered by solar energy.
The creation of cyborg insects is not an easy task due to the presence of mechanical devices and electronic elements in the design. Thanks to the use of flexible materials and the creation of a 3D printed saddlebag, the insects carry their components securely, in addition to the ability to move freely.
In addition to their visible structure, the researchers created the insects in a practical way, they can be manipulated and controlled remotely for long periods of time, due to the wireless control they have in the legs, in addition to being powered by a small rechargeable battery.
Another challenge encountered by the team was the need to keep the battery charged. Among the options they considered was the creation of docking stations for recharging, but this implied dependence on these sites and in the end, they decided that it would make the project less practical, so they decided to incorporate solar cells that could provide continuous energy and thus keep the battery charged.
The scientists, from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) in Japan, experimented with Madagascar cockroaches, which are approximately 6 cm long, connecting a wireless module for controlling the legs, in addition to the solar cell and the mini lithium polymer battery, the whole system located in the insect's saddlebag on the upper part of the thorax.
"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 seems to be an effective design for cyborg cockroaches. Moreover, since abdominal deformation is not unique to cockroaches, our strategy can be adapted to other insects such as beetles, or perhaps even flying insects such as cicadas in the future," explained Kenjiro Fukuda, the study's director.
You can read more about the findings obtained from this research at:
18 de Octubre, 2022