Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Robotics Technology

Russian Scientists Create Cockroach Spy Robot 50

An anonymous reader writes: A team of scientists at the Kaliningrad-based Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University has unveiled a small cockroach robot which will be tasked with hunting out victims trapped under debris. The robot measures 10cm in length, and can move at up to 30cm/second. The device is fitted with light sensors, as well as contact and non-contact probes which allows it to move around without bumping into any obstacles. “We had to develop many things from scratch. For example, there’s a company in Austria that produces gearing for legs, but a unit for one robot would have cost us nearly $9,000 while our entire budget is $22,500,” said Danil Borchevkin, the university’s lead engineer.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Russian Scientists Create Cockroach Spy Robot

Comments Filter:
  • It had to be said.
  • Do they have to make it look like a cockroach? If I'm trapped under debri, seeing cockroaches crawling toward me is not exactly what I'd want.
    • Re:Ugly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:10PM (#50598491) Homepage

      My guess if it had to look like a real cockroach, the purpose is first and foremost spying.

      If it's truly just the "go into debris and look for people", there is no need whatsoever to look like a cockroach.

      That design constraint pretty much screams covert spying.

      • That, and this:

        The researchers are this week working on a camo version for use by the Russian military. The national army has already expressed interest in the bot, attracted by its ability to carry up to 10g – a potential option for carrying portable cameras into enclosed areas and tight spaces.

      • by rlwhite ( 219604 )

        That was my first thought too, but if that's the case, why a cockroach? Sure, it has a small size that can go unnoticed much of the time, but if someone sees a cockroach their first instinct is to kill it, and crunching down on a bunch of electronics is going to have a different sound and feel than squishing a real cockroach. At that point the spies are suspected.

        I'd choose something cute, cuddly, dumb, and not particularly agile, like hamsters.

        • People are only going to try to squish it indoors. If it is hiding in the bushes, most humans will scurry away. If it looks cute, they'll stop and scrutinize it. This is for military recon, not signals intelligence or spy vs spy.

        • That was my first thought too, but if that's the case, why a cockroach? Sure, it has a small size that can go unnoticed much of the time, but if someone sees a cockroach their first instinct is to kill it, and crunching down on a bunch of electronics is going to have a different sound and feel than squishing a real cockroach. At that point the spies are suspected.

          I'd choose something cute, cuddly, dumb, and not particularly agile, like hamsters.

          But then there is the danger of your spy-hamster "accidentally" ending up in someone's bottom and having to be removed in A&E.

      • by fhage ( 596871 )
        Note that researchers found the cockroach body shape useful for navigating through obstacles. [phys.org]

        Paint it orange and give it a little LED headlight for rescue. I'd be happy to see a robot roach if I were buried.

      • Obviously you need to use it for disaster relief because you can get people to pay for the testing, and then you have performance data relevant for military use. That way you know how to price the final version.

    • The point of this is not to help to find anybody under debris, the point is to build a spy tool for Putin and his cohorts to seed these things around the world, everywhere where ears and eyes could provide information useful to remain in power and steal more, so this contraption will look like a cockroach or some other insect or animal or object that can move around and spy while not being easily detectable.

  • 10cm? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2015 @12:47PM (#50598249)

    10cm is 4 inches. That is a big f**king roach. I guess they grow 'em big in Russia. When read the title, I was envisaging something a bit more, you know, roach sized.

  • He'd have made them some boogie robots

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:52PM (#50599051)
    Watch The Fifth Element again.
  • Just wire your control board into the roach's nervous system. It's a standard laboratory procedure now, used for training purposes. You can steer them around by remote control. The autonomous functions even handle uneven terrain for you.

  • by Bugler412 ( 2610815 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @02:30PM (#50599493)
    In the robotics lab at the university I work at they have functional insect robots, both flying and walking, remote controllable or semi-autonomous, remote video/audio, self charging by landing on light fixtures and such, actual insect sized (not a 10CM "cockroach" jeez) as office toys. They are WAY beyond the stuff noted here by the Russians. Scary way beyond...
  • Trust an American editor to label anything and everything the Russians develop as "spy" equipment. Heaven forbid they should actually care about saving lives. :(

  • Did DARPA do it?

    DARPA did it.

    What didn't DARPA do?!?

  • Very ugly in design and crudely manufactured. Much bigger than the reference insect as well, and I suspect it's not much more than a sensor or two, a little motor, a battery, and a wireless unit. Doubtful it can walk up walls, or even steep inclines, which means it's little more than a crude skittering thing with a ridiculous and unnecessary carapace glued to the top of its carriage.
    • It is about the size of the reference insect, but they wanted a larger reference insect they just couldn't find one for sale to include. It is the same size as the originally intended reference insect, and the case could be reworked to match the new reference.

      It is a crude skittering military recon bot that looks like a nasty bug and can hide in the bushes. And is cheap, cheap, cheap.

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @03:45PM (#50600177)

    Right. In Russia, its much cheaper to just train real cockroach to be spies. Tiny sunglasses and trenchcoats are the giveaway.

  • I remember reading some Piranha Club [wikipedia.org] strips, were Santa and some spying elf sent a mechanical cockroach to spy on Spencer.

    I wonder if they have that comic strip in Russia?

A successful [software] tool is one that was used to do something undreamed of by its author. -- S. C. Johnson

Working...