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Scientists Discover Method to Control Cockroaches Remotely

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/commenter/60000/66060_32.jpgJesus Diaz

Researchers have been working on this for a very long time and now they have finally achieved it: scientists at North Carolina State University have successfully remotely controlled cockroaches. Watch the video. It's both disgusting and impressive, but it could save your life one day.

According to lper Bozkurt, assistant professor of electrical engineering at NCS and one of the project scientists, they want to load them with sensors to rescue people:

Our aim was to determine whether we could create a wireless biological interface with cockroaches, which are robust and able to infiltrate small spaces. Ultimately, we think this will allow us to create a mobile web of smart sensors that uses cockroaches to collect and transmit information, such as finding survivors in a building that's been destroyed by an earthquake.

Bozkurt says that they "decided to use biobotic cockroaches in place of robots, as designing robots at that scale is very challenging and cockroaches are experts at performing in such a hostile environment."

How it works

To achieve this, they built a low-cost electronic backpack using an off-the-shelf microcontroller plus a wireless receiver and a transmitter. They placed the backpacks on Madagascar hissing cockroaches, connecting the controller to electrodes implanted on the insect's antennae and cerci, the small sensory appendage at the end of the roach's abdomen.

Roaches use their cerci to detect movement in the air—which alert them of potential predators. When the scientists activate this electrode, they make them walk forward. The sensors connected to the antennas perform a similar function, acting as the reins and pointing the roach in the direction the researchers want. As you can see in the video, their method works beautifully.

I'm sure the Pentagon would also love these bionic critters for other functions. Oh, and they are doing the same with moths, so I'm sure there will be biological spies flying the skies of the world sooner than we imagine. Sometimes I wonder if these people have ever watched any horror sci-fi movie. You know, the ones in which bionic moths and cockroaches kill every human on Earth. [IBionicS Laboratory via North Carolina State University]

Rats, bedbugs, cockroaches: pests we may all have to learn to live with more in the future, according to environmental health experts. Budget cuts mean some councils are disbanding their pest control teams while others are now charging for services which had been free. Will this lead to more pests and the diseases they carry?

Panorama goes bug busting with pest controllers, and tests how easy it can be to get into the pest control business. Click on the link to go to the Panorama program on 6th August 2012.

Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01lvf9p/

Dozens of councils have closed down their pest control services over the past two years in a bid to cut costs.

Local authorities are not legally obliged to provide the service, making it a candidate for cuts as councils seek to absorb 28 per cent reductions in central government funding over four years.

An investigation by the BBC Panorama programme found that 29 councils have shut the service down.

Read More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2184219/Dozens-councils-opt-cut-pest-control-services-bid-reduce-costs.html#ixzz22qxwenKw

Councils Cut Pest Control Services

Some 29 councils across the UK have shut down their pest control services over the past two years as part of a drive to save money, according to a TV investigation aired this evening.

Local authorities carried out more than 700,000 jobs relating to pests like rats and cockroaches in the UK last year, but they are not legally obliged to provide the service, making it a candidate for cuts as councils seek to absorb 28% reductions in central government funding over four years.

The BBC's Panorama found evidence that the removal of publicly-funded pest control has led to some people seeking to handle the problem themselves, rather than pay private companies fees of as much as £100 for an initial call-out.

Simon Forrester, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association, said that councils provide a "safety net for society" and that if services are withdrawn, the most vulnerable people will be hit. "Many people who can't afford pest control need to find some sort of support," he said. "They're often the ones who have the worst pest problems where they live."

Unless dealt with, infestations can create a health risk to humans, said Mr Forrester. "We're talking about illnesses like with rat infestations, Weil's disease, which is Leptospirosis, a particularly nasty illness," he told the programme. "We're looking at the transfer of disease through rats coming up through sewers and into people's houses."

Read More: UKPA

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