Researchers Use Kinect to Control a Cockroach

Researchers from North Carolina State University are using cockroaches and Microsoft's Kinect sensor for an experiment that allows them to drive the little insects around. Using Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect technology and some electronics, they've figured out how to control a cockroach in real life.

The team of scientists working on this bizarre project hope that a remote-controlled cockroach could one day be used in disaster search-and-rescue scenarios, such as mapping out a collapsed building or finding survivors.

"Our goal is to be able to guide these roaches as efficiently as possible, and our work with Kinect is helping us do that," says Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an electrical and computer engineering professor at NC State and one of the lead authors on the study. "We want to build on this program, incorporating mapping and radio frequency techniques that will allow us to use a small group of cockroaches to explore and map disaster sites. The autopilot program would control the roaches, sending them on the most efficient routes to provide rescuers with a comprehensive view of the situation."

The cockroach is controlled using an implanted digital interface that is capable of stimulating the insect's sensor organs (antennae and cerci). When manipulated correctly they can cause the cockroach to believe a barrier or predator is near, causing it to scurry away. The Microsoft Kinect is used to track and monitor the insect's progress, leading it along a predetermined path.

Researchers hope that they can add even more sensors to the cockroach so it can be more specialized for disaster relief efforts.

"We may even be able to attach small speakers, which would allow rescuers to communicate with anyone who is trapped," Bozkurt said.

You can check out a video of the project to your left.

Source: Latinos Post


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