Insbot Robot Cockroaches Make Friends And Influence... Roaches

Robot cockroaches (or "robo-roaches") are making friends fast - and influencing their behavior. Thanks to microelectronics and pheromones, the Leurre project can do research on building and controlling mixed societies comprised of animals and tiny machines. (Note: Although this has been described as a "breaking news story" on some sites, it's actually about a year old. The project ended on August 31, 2005, according to the project website.)


(Robot cockroach and friends)

Even though this is an "old" story, I couldn't resist. It turns out that once you spray on the pheromones, and provide some reasonably roach-like behavior, the little robots are accepted by the cockroach group. And since cockroaches display group behaviors, an assertive robot roach can influence the real cockroaches in the group. For example, they can convince the real roaches to leave shaded areas and venture out into the light. The robots were provided with programming to make them both seek out real roaches, and then veer toward lit areas.

The ultimate goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of how animals interact to create a sort of collective intelligence. It may lead to innovative forms of artificial intelligence. I'm hoping it leads to more influence over pests.

In his excellent short story The Scarab, written in 1936, science fiction writer Raymond Z. Gallun creates a very detailed picture of a tiny robotic machine used for surveillance:

The Scarab paused on its perch for a moment, as if to determine for itself whether it was perfectly fit for action. It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...

About it, as it scrambled forward, were weeds and bushes and grass, which, from its miniature point of view, constituted a thick and threatening jungle... a large, vicious-looking beetle barred the way, its chitinous mandibles opening and closing suggestively.
(Read more about the Scarab robotic machine)

The Scarab was remote-controlled, so it was not an autonomous robot; however, most of its behaviors were programmed in.

One interesting detail, from the standpoint of this news story, is that the creators of the Scarab sometimes used it to pick fights with other beetles. Maybe Mr. Gallun should have been thinking about how to use it to make friends...

If you are interested in cockroaches and robotics (and who isn't?), read this "tables-are-turned" article about cockroach-controlled robot about a roach who can drive. If that's not enough for you, check out DARPA's plans for a zombie insect army. Read more about robo-roaches; take a look at the Leurre project website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/9/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...' - Harry Harrison, 1962.

TinyMobileRobots Are Sewer Sentinels
Every movie monster gets its start someplace.

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

BloxVox Mutes Cellphone Convos
It's the polite thing to do, and has been the polite thing to do for about four generations.

Superfast Replicator: Volumetric Additive Manufacturing
I can't wait. Bring it on.

DNA May Contain Malware
'You were told to embed the logical pathogen.'

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...'

Rplate Digital License Plates Now Legal In Michigan
'Gragg's digital ink license plates ...'

Can Musk Starship Astronauts Use Magnetic Boots?
'Walking awkwardly in the magnetic boots that held him to the black mass of meteoric iron...'

Giant Dolphin Spotted On Jupiter!
'Now at last he could appreciate its real size and complexity...'

Musk's Starship An SF Fan's Dream Come True
Perfect for testing, perfect for fans!

TinyMobileRobots Are Sewer Sentinels
Every movie monster gets its start someplace.

Fishy Facial Recognition Now Possible
'Palenkis can identify random line patterns better than any other species in the universe.'

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.