Create bionic bugs that you can control!
But there's more to this than fun with bugs. In an earthquake or other event in which buildings collapse, cockroaches equipped with tiny cameras could be sent into the rubble in hopes of locating victims. Bugs could also be fitted with listening devices and used as spies.
Here's how they do it:
First, students put a cockroach in ice until it stops moving — that's the roach's anesthesia.
Then they cut off a small part of the bug's antennae and put wires inside the parts remaining. Those wires touch the insect's nerves. Students glue a circuit pack to the bug's back and use a remote control to send electrical impulses to the antennae, directing the bug.
All cockroaches recover from surgery.
Said one student, "You get into a classroom to learn about the nervous system and you think you're going to learn about the different parts of the brain."
"When actually you walk in, you see a bunch of cockroaches and your teacher says 'Hey, let's remote-control some cockroaches.'"
Critical thinking challenge: Is it ethical to do this to cockroaches?
- Posted on March 16, 2013