Researchers have developed a novel technology that allows cyborg cockroaches or “biobots” to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound.
The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster. For example, in a collapsed building, sound is the best way to find survivors.
The so-called biobots are equipped with tiny electronic backpacks that control the cockroach’s movements. In one version, a single multi-directional microphone captures relatively high-resolution sound which is then transmitted wirelessly to first responders. In the other version, multiple three-directional microphones detect the location of the sound to innately direct the biobot in that direction.
The team also developed a technology that can be used as an “invisible fence” to keep the biobots at a disaster site within range of each other so that they can be used as a reliable mobile wireless network.