Researchers: Alper Bozkurt and Tahmid Latif
At North Carolina State University’s Integrated Bionic Microsystems (iBionicS) Lab, we work with biological robots or biobots—live “working” insects—remotely controlled by neural stimulation applied through implanted electrodes and a lightweight body-mounted electronic backpack. Using Madagascar hissing cockroach-bots, we have successfully demonstrated line following and maze navigation and have been able to autonomously guide these biobots to a sound source using on-board microphones. A novel sensor network of biobots can enable operation in uncertain and dynamic conditions, such as search and rescue after natural disasters. The instrumentation, in addition to their natural navigational and locomotive abilities, makes them a unique choice for search and rescue exploration. Furthermore, analysis of their tissue-electrode interface can help optimize control in the biobots and prevent tissue damage at the interfaces.