Melbourne: North Carolina State University researchers have found a way to control a cockroach for rescue efforts.
They have managed to control and direct the movement of a large Madagascar hissing cockroach via a micro-controller on its back.
The cyborg-roach, reminiscent of Dr Who's "cybermats" - the bug-like spy and covert operations device of the evil Cybermen - can be commanded into precisely following a predetermined route, News.com.au reported.
An off-the-shelf microcontroller was pasted on to the back of the 5cm roach and wired to its antennae and abdomen.
Wireless commands to the microcontroller prod the cockroach into believing obstacles or danger were nearby - causing it to change course when desired.
"Our aim was to determine whether we could create a wireless biological interface with cockroaches, which are robust and able to infiltrate small spaces," said assistant professor Alper Bozkur.
"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," Bozkur noted.