The researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a special type of cockroach-inspired device that they claim can save your life at some point of time.
The new device, dubbed as cyborg cockroaches or biobots, may help in carrying rescue operations following a disaster after picking up sounds with small microphones and find out the source of sound.
Moreover, the researchers have developed a technology that can be incorporated as an “invisible fence” to keep the cyborg cockroaches or biobots in the disaster-hit area.
Explaining the significance of the newly created technology, study researcher Dr Alper Bozkurt, said, “In a collapsed building, sound is the best way to find survivors.”
Bozkurt, who is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, has authored two papers on the work.
The biobots are highly-equipped as they possess electronic backpacks that help in controlling the movements of cockroach. The team of researchers has developed two kinds of customised backpacks with the help of microphones.
One of the biobot type possess single microphone that can capture high-resolution sound from any direction and wirelessly transmit it to first responders.
While the second type of biobot carries an array of three directional microphones to figure out the sound direction.
Algorithms are also developed for better analysis of the sound from the microphone array in order to localise the source of the sound and maneuver the biobot towards that direction.
Bozkurt said, “The goal is to use the biobots with high-resolution microphones to differentiate between sounds that matter – like people calling for help – from sounds that don’t matter – like a leaking pipe.”
“Once we’ve identified sounds that matter, we can use the biobots equipped with microphone arrays to zero in on where those sounds are coming from,” he further added.
The paper detailing the study was presented at the IEEE Sensors 2014 conference in Valencia, Spain.