In the future, when humanity looks back and tries to figure exactly at what point everything went so horribly wrong, they may decide on the moment that researchers at Shanghai Jiaotong University decided that they wanted to control the brain of a cockroach with their own brains without wires.
Li Guangye, a postgraduate student at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Jiaotong University, will be designated the chief culprit in humankind’s eventual collapse to the hoards of cyborg cockroaches. If you want to know how Li and his team did it. Check out these simple diagrams:
Truthfully, we don’t claim to be cockroach scientists, but the first step seems to be implanting live roaches with small computer chips and electrodes that are used to stimulate nerves in the insects’ antennae. Then researchers put on a special EEG-equipped headset, allowing them to use their brainwaves to manipulate the cockroaches to walk in a S-shaped bend and in a zig-zag pattern. Yep, you might want to read that again.
Actually, this isn’t the first time that humans have used mind control on cockroaches through electronic “backpacks,” but it is the first time we’ve done so WITH OUR OWN BRAINS.
The practical applications of such a technology are basically limitless and the impractical ones even more so. Electrical engineers at North Carolina State University have proposed using cyborg cockroaches to seek out survivors trapped under the rubble of a disaster zone. Admittedly, we are little more worried about its military applications.
If a post-nuclear apocalypse global war involving armies of millions of cyborg cockroaches does happen to break out, China would appear to hold the advantage in numbers. Cockroach breeding for medicinal and cosmetic purposes has become one of the fastest growing industries in the mainland in recent years. This lady in Guangdong has lovingly raised more than 100,000 of the little critters by herself. While in 2013, one million cockroaches (a conservative estimate) escaped from a single farm in Jiangsu.
And, of course, these little guys are notoriously hard to kill.
According to Sohu, somehow, Li Guangye only ended up taking second place in the 2015 IEEE RAS students’ video contest. His cyborg cockroaches lost to robots capable of playing rock, paper, scissors.
Watch the runner-up video that has doomed us all:
by Alex Linder
[Images via Sohu]