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The robot roach interacting with its live counterparts
New robots mimic, confuse live insects

A group of researchers led by Jose Halloy from the Université Libré de Bruxelles has succeeded in building a robotic cockroach convincing enough to fool the real thing. 

The robots looked nothing like real cockroaches, but were programmed with similiar behavior patterns.  Initially, the live bugs fled in fear from their robotic counterparts until Halloy hit upon the idea of coating his creations with roach pheremones.   The chemicals, which gave the robots the unique "smell" of a live roach, allowed the machines to be accepted as normal members of the roach clan. 

Most importantly, the robot cockroaches were actually able influence the behavior of the entire clan.  Normally cockroaches prefer dark places, and make a "collective" decision to pick a common shelter.  However, robotic infiltrators programmed to prefer brightly-lit shelters were often able to convince the entire roach clan to migrate to the new area.

In other cases, the live cockroaches were able to override the programming of the robots and force them to continue to nest in dark shelters.  According to Halloy, such experiments are critical to understanding the basis of biological intelligence and decision-making.

Halloy said his next step may be to build a robot chicken convincing enough for baby chicks to accept.  His research appears in the Thursday edition of the journal Science.

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I know!
By DeepBlue1975 on 11/16/2007 2:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
The next transformers movie will include...

The ROACH-O-BOTS which will fight the Insecticons.

They'll be able to assemble into a bigger robot called Cock-Master which will have the shape of... well, of a big cock. Roach.

RE: I know!
By Golgatha on 11/16/2007 2:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
RE: I know!
By ADDAvenger on 11/16/2007 10:30:30 PM , Rating: 3
Thank you, I just spent yet another hour of my life reading mostly irrelevant yet mostly fascinating wikipedia articles.

Wait a tick...
By Cobra Commander on 11/16/2007 2:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
I thought there was already a Robot Chicken out there...
Well maybe they should make a robotic politician? Hmmm, that sounds painfully familiar...

This is pretty cool... the Orkin men rejoice!!!

RE: Wait a tick...
By sj420 on 11/16/2007 2:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
"Orkin men rejoice"

Heh, thats what I was thinking. They could use the robotic one to lure the live ones to their ultimate DEATH!

Would help the orkin man a lot I figure. Damn roaches.

What is also scary is the fact that they have a robot that looks similar and can perform similar basic functions like a real roach. Just a simple pheromone makes it acceptable to the living ones. Well you could do lots with this, talk about spying in a real sense. If you can even catch a roach to smash it, this one might not even smash.

I am confused though what do they mean by the live roaches were able to reprogram the robot to go to a dark area? How? Or is that some experiment they are talking about for the near future or whatever?

RE: Wait a tick...
By masher2 on 11/16/2007 3:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
> "I am confused though what do they mean by the live roaches were able to reprogram the robot to go to a dark area? How?"

The robots were programmed to act similar to live roaches. They thus had two occasionally conflicting imperatives for behavior. 1) seek appropriate shelter, and 2) remain near other roaches. So a robot roach wouldn't simply move to a brightly-lit might gravitate towards it, but only if other (live) roaches followed it.

In some cases, the robot was able to change the decision of the entire herd. In others, the behavior of the live roaches overrode its shelter-seeking imperative.

New idea
By FITCamaro on 11/16/2007 2:10:36 PM , Rating: 5
Develop robotic cockroaches that convince the real ones to stay the hell out of our homes! Deploy them son b*tches world-wide.

RE: New idea
By mal1 on 11/18/2007 1:03:59 PM , Rating: 1
Or people could just keep their houses clean.

By DEVGRU on 11/16/2007 2:09:30 PM , Rating: 5
I am Lothar, of the Roach People!

Come my bretherin, to this safe box full of food and a non-sticky surfaces!

(Yes its Friday, and no, I can't wait for the weekend to start.)

By Mitch101 on 11/16/2007 2:51:39 PM , Rating: 5
The live cockroaches were able to override the programming of the robots and force them to continue to nest in dark shelters.

L33T roaches?

Actually I hear several of the roaches in the photos were named in RIAA and MPAA lawsuits for file sharing.

RE: L33T
By dajeepster on 11/16/07, Rating: 0
Robotic monkey fools Bush
By lamborghini on 11/16/2007 6:25:36 PM , Rating: 5
In an unrelated news, robotic monkey fools Bush and family :D

By BrownJohn on 11/16/2007 2:37:39 PM , Rating: 3
Robot Chicken. Seth Green would be happy

Where can I buy some
By Parhel on 11/16/2007 2:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
These would make a great practical joke. I want a dozen and a remote control.

By Orbs on 11/16/2007 2:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
especially if it got sophisticated enough to fool rodents. Then again, all I really want is something to control those pesky Ant Lions for HL2 Episode 1 and Episode 2!!

By JonnyDough on 11/16/2007 4:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
Do these robotic roaches scurry out of sight when you flip on the light, and do are they resistant to radiation? New movie: Revenge of the NanoRoach!

smart roaches!
By richelmontro on 11/16/2007 5:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
"the live cockroaches were able to override the programming of the robots and force them to continue to nest in dark shelters"

This makes roaches look so smart... lol

This has potential.
By fifolo on 11/16/2007 10:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
Dress it in a suit, and it's ready for Congress.

Stupid question
By Etern205 on 11/17/2007 11:40:59 AM , Rating: 2
Where do you get roach pheremones
or how do you make them?

Take heed!
By mindless1 on 11/18/2007 1:05:53 AM , Rating: 2
As always, Hollywood is like a portal we use to look into the future. We do know these faux-roaches are secretly being made by the thousands, we do know somehow they will get out of the lab, and we do know they will find a way to breed until they become powerful enough to attack Kevin Bacon and a bunch of other twenty-somethings until only one man and one woman survive, leaving behind one roach that sneaks away learning from the clan's mistakes only to return in the sequel.

By ViperROhb34 on 11/18/2007 1:41:32 AM , Rating: 2
Normally cockroaches prefer dark places, and make a "collective" decision to pick a common shelter.

Iam Lecutis of Cockroach - Resistance is Futile !

By torabora on 11/18/2007 12:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing we do wins the war on roaches. We need to surrender to them and redeploy to another planet.

In other news
By Rollomite on 11/20/2007 4:51:55 PM , Rating: 1
Large groups of robotic roaches have taken over the UN by spraying themselves down with the scent of cash money and leading UN officials into dark spaces for termination.

Wow... so what
By JarvisTheGray on 11/16/07, Rating: -1
RE: Wow... so what
By masher2 on 11/16/2007 2:18:23 PM , Rating: 3
The pheremones simply convinced the live bugs to accept the robots as real. The "new" part is the robotic behavior which, in a wholly autonomous manner, managed to participate in and influence the decision-making process of a community of insects.

RE: Wow... so what
By sj420 on 11/16/07, Rating: -1
RE: Wow... so what
By sj420 on 11/16/2007 2:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wait wtf is the box in the middle the bot they are talking about? This is starting to confuse me I have to get away from this picture now.

I keep thinking of pheromones and the song "Whats that smell"

....Can you smell that smell?

RE: Wow... so what
By Parhel on 11/16/2007 3:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the same thing at first. Now I think, though, that the box in the center is the fake roach and all the others are real. In the article it said it looked nothing like a real roach, but it wasn't clear if they meant the early prototypes or the current one.

RE: Wow... so what
By glitchc on 11/16/2007 6:31:37 PM , Rating: 2
You're correct. There's no reason for it to look like a real roach, since the roaches cannot "see" very well in the conventional sense. Most insects do not have well-developed vision systems, make distinctions based on smell and touch. Some rely on sound as well. The high def vision we humans carry is very uncommon in nature. You need a pretty sophisticated brain to process the necessary visual algorithms in reasonably real-time.

RE: Wow... so what
By FITCamaro on 11/16/2007 11:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
So why do flies have 100s of eyes and process their sight many times faster than humans?

RE: Wow... so what
By AraH on 11/17/2007 9:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
"Compared with single-aperture eyes, compound eyes have poor image resolution; however, they possess a very large view angle and the ability to detect fast movement and, in some cases, the polarization of light." -

they are more worried about movement than image quality...

RE: Wow... so what
By therealnickdanger on 11/16/2007 2:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
Time to influence them all to eat some poison.

RE: Wow... so what
By nekobawt on 11/17/2007 10:52:12 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking, though my brain went more along the line of roachbot-spy-as-mobile-roach-motel.

Picture it--"Roachbot Prime" infiltrates the cockroach home base, then lets loose with an insecticide, and/or some kind of sterilizing agent for the survivors of the initial attack. Sure, I can think of a few ways that could go horribly (horribly!) wrong, but the possibilities are endless!

Ah, science. :)

RE: Wow... so what
By dare2savefreedom on 11/17/2007 10:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Its easy to kill them:
0) lay down line of paste stuff that comes in a needle from walmart
1) wait for roach to come and eat line like coke
2) while he is eating draw lines of poison on his back
3) when he goes back home he will take poison back for others to eat him
4) don't see roaches no mo'

and this works on the "big, Corellian ships"

I'm not sure about the 6 inch ones that are black and can fly.

RE: Wow... so what
By omnicronx on 11/16/2007 2:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Its kind of like bee's, every colony has a different 'smell' and can detect intruders through pheromones.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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