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Software ­ses Cyborg Swarm to Map ­nknown Environs


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A swarm of biobots (remotely controlled cockroaches).

Newly developed software can be used to control insects remotely as a means of mapping unknown environments.

Credit: Edgar Lobaton

North Carolina State University researchers have developed software that could be used to map unknown environments based on the movement of a swarm of insect cyborgs.

The process involves attaching electronic sensors to insects, such as cockroaches, releasing them into a hard-to-reach area, and controlling them remotely. For example, the biobots could be dispatched into a collapsed building where global positioning system technology does not work. The biobots would be allowed to spread out, and when signals via radio waves indicate that they are getting too close to each other, a signal can be sent to command them to keep moving until they find more walls or other unbroken surfaces. The software then uses an algorithm to translate the biobot sensor data into a rough map of the area, which would be helpful to first responders. The location of radioactive or chemical threats could be determined by equipping insects with relevant sensors.

After tests involving computer simulations, the team is now testing the software using robots and then will test it with biobots.

From NCSU News
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