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The cockroaches were remotely controlled on pre-determined courses

Rescuers looking to navigate disaster areas could benefit from a very odd duo: cockroaches and Microsoft's Kinect. 

Researchers from North Carolina State University -- led by Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State -- are using the Kinect to remotely control cockroaches through planned courses. 

The team coupled the Kinect with an electronic interface designed at NC State. Using this system, the cockroaches can be controlled remotely to follow a course.

The cockroaches are made to navigate these courses through wires attached to their antennae and cerci. The cerci are sensory organs that allow the cockroaches to detect predators through movements in the air, and move away accordingly. With wires on the cerci, the team can move the cockroaches into motion, and with wires on the antennae, the team can send small charges to make the cockroach think it has contacted a barrier -- thus making it move in the opposite direction. 

As the cockroach is remotely controlled through the determined path, the Kinect tracks its movements and progress. The Kinect also lets the team see how the cockroaches react to the wires so that they can adjust their technique (if needed) for greater precision through the course. 

While this isn't the team's first run with remotely controlling cockroaches, this is its first study using the Kinect alongside the experiment. 

"We want to build on this program, incorporating mapping and radio frequency techniques that will allow us to use a small group of cockroaches to explore and map disaster sites," said Bozkurt. "The autopilot program would control the roaches, sending them on the most efficient routes to provide rescuers with a comprehensive view of the situation."

Source: Science Daily

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By invidious on 6/26/2013 1:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
How can people be so naive as to pretend that this is something new or irregular? Biological experimentation has been prevalent for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s part of human nature's drive to explore and control. Every individual is guilty of devaluing the pain and suffering of lesser animals to some degree. How is stepping on a cockroach not worse than putting electrodes on its antennae?

It's not restricted to humans. Cats toy with living mice before they eat them or just get bored of them. Lions eat their prey without bothering to kill it in order to maximize the time before it spoils. Living things do what they must to survive and thrive. Biologically nothing else matters. The only thing specific to humans is the morality and guilt we impose on ourselves when circumstance allows for such comforts.

It may seem noble to preach against its practice and urge others to suppress the urges. But we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. I don't see very many of use forsaking all of the "ill gotten" gains in favor of a vegan isolationist existence with no health care or technology.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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