We bring this to you from the “it sounds weird, but sure the applications would be numerous” bag. Researchers at North Carolina State University figured out how to remotely control an actual cockroach. No the objective was not related to extermination of bugs – but rather creating a wireless biological interface. The mechanics consisted of a basic microcontroller, transmitter and receiver. By attaching the device to the pest’s antennae, a sensory organ for them to help evade predators, the team was able to send commands to trigger their need to move and avoid trouble. The video below shows researchers controlling the path of a Madagascar hissing cockroach using the device.
What the heck does steering a cockroach do for the good of society? Well, cockroaches are pretty tough. Applications thought to potentially exist include deploying the little guys to collect information from disastrous or hazardous environments like nuclear facilities or war zones. So who knows, maybe cockroaches will one day help us rather than hinder us.