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Cockroaches could be used to find disaster survivors

A team of researchers in Texas put tiny backpacks cockroaches with electronics used to enable researchers to control their movement. The controllable insect could carry tiny video cameras, microphones and other sensors to gather information from places where humans would rather not be: collapsed buildings, broken sewers and other environments to help locate survivors.

“Insects can do things a robot cannot. They can go into small places, sense the environment, and if there’s movement, from a predator say, they can escape much better than a system designed by a human,” Liang told the Guardian.

Some cockroaches can carry 5 times their own weight but the heavier the backpack the greater toll it takes on the cockroach. Endurance tests were carried out and they do get tired. The backpack that was created and attached weighs 3g. If it was lighter the cockroach could go for longer. The robotic cockroach is still a prototype said Laing.