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 ")

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.' - Stanislaw Lem, 1954

SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound.

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!

Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.' - Elizabeth Bellamy, 1899.

 

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

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'

SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!

MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.

Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!

Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.

Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'

Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing

Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.

Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.

Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.

Squid-Like Robots Soon To Be 3D Printable
'It was a chemotactic artificial jellyfish designed to slither...'

Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.

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.