Japan has figured out a way to turn cockroaches into useful house servants. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba envision a future where an army of tiny cockroaches inhabit people’s homes, performing all kinds of helpful tasks and then hiding away until their services are required again.
I celebrate the dawn of the cockroach housemaid.
Japanese researchers envision a future where swarms of cyborg cockroaches roam freely inside homes, carrying out a variety of small tasks.
A team at the University of Tsukuba modified Madagascar cockroaches with cybernetic implants that navigate the insects up walls and across floors – places other robots have difficult accessing.
Called ‘Calmbots,’ the cockroaches were installed with electrodes, a chip antenna, battery and a pixel strapped to its back that can be used as a display.
Researchers say the cyborgs can transport objects around the home, drawing things on paper and may one day act as an ‘input or haptic interfaces or an audio device.
Calmbots are a project of Digital Nature Group, a department at the university, which aims to release their creations into people’s homes.
The Madagascar cockroach was chosen specifically for its capabilities of mobilization, self-maintenance and ability to hide.
The team says that ‘in the future, they’ll appear out of nowhere without us recognizing it, fulfilling their tasks and then hiding.’
The cockroaches were modified with computer components through implantation, as well as gluing some to the insect’s exterior.
Once it became a cyborg, the team tested the ability to control it across walls, carpets and floors with cables.
‘We devised option parts attached to cockroaches, making them capable of drawing lines and transporting objects,’ researchers shared in a statement.
‘Third, we controlled multiple cockroaches effectively by developing the control based on the principle of worker ants, which exists in a swarm of ants.
‘When there appear out-of-control cockroaches, we utilized the substitute cockroaches to continue the ongoing task.’
A video of the project shows the insects scurrying around a home, while moving a box from one side of the room to another.
The cockroaches were also fitted with a marker and the team controlled a group to draw a design on paper.
However, unlike other swarms of cyborg cockroaches, these are designed with a specific algorithm that allows an individual insect to deal with errors that may arise others and complete tasks that another fellow cyborg could not finish.
These cyborg cockroaches could even take over all of brown people’s jobs in the near future.