We’d like to take a second and introduce you to a new protagonist for your nightmares. He’s a congenial little guy most of the time, what with being called a Hissing Cockroach from Madagascar. One could even consider him… exotic. But he’s even more interesting now that some researchers from North Carolina State university have found a way to control brobro remotely, like a miniature go-kart from Hell. It works like this:
The microcontroller is wired to the roach’s antennae and cerci.
The cerci are sensory organs on the roach’s abdomen, which are normally used to detect movement in the air that could indicate a predator is approaching – causing the roach to scurry away. But the researchers use the wires attached to the cerci to spur the roach into motion. The roach thinks something is sneaking up behind it and moves forward.
The wires attached to the antennae serve as electronic reins, injecting small charges into the roach’s neural tissue. The charges trick the roach into thinking that the antennae are in contact with a physical barrier, which effectively steers them in the opposite direction.
The idea the researchers had was to use the insects to search for trapped disaster victims. And sure, that’s all fine and dandy, but you just know that from now on you’ll be doomed to dream of wave after wave of hissing roaches scurrying towards you, controlled from some distant C&C center within which an evil overlord laughs his diabolical ass off.
Want to know what it would look like? Hit the jump for a vid.