Rechargeable remote control cyborg cockroach

Researchers at RIKEN in Japan have created remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches, equipped with a small wireless controller powered by a rechargeable battery attached to a solar cell. credit: RIKEN

An international team led by researchers at RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) has designed a system to create remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches, equipped with a small wireless controller powered by a rechargeable battery attached to a solar cell. Despite the mechanical devices, the ultra-thin electronics and flexible materials allow insects to move freely. These achievements were mentioned in the scientific journal npj flexible electronics On September 5, it will help make the use of cyborg bugs a practical reality.

The researchers were trying to design cyborg Insects – part of an insect, a machine – to help inspect dangerous areas or monitor the environment. However, for cyborg bugs to be practical, handlers must be able to control them remotely for long periods of time. This requires wireless control of their leg parts, powered by a small device rechargeable battery. Keeping the battery sufficiently charged is key – no one wants a suddenly out of control team of cyborg cockroaches running around. While it is possible to build docking stations to recharge the battery, the need to return and recharge can disrupt time-sensitive tasks. Therefore, the best solution is to include a solar cell on board that can ensure that the battery remains constantly charged.

All of this is easier said than done. To successfully merge these devices into a file cockroach Its limited surface area required the research team to develop a special backpack, ultra-thin organic solar cell modules, and an adhesion system that keeps the machine attached for long periods while also allowing for natural movements.

Led by Kenjiro Fukuda, RIKEN CPR, the team conducted experiments with Madagascar crickets, which are about 6 centimeters long. They connected the wireless leg controller and Lithium Polymer Battery To the top of the insect on the chest using a specially designed backpack, which is modeled after the body of a typical cockroach. The backpack is 3D printed with flexible polymer and conforms perfectly to the curved surface of the cockroach, allowing the rigid electronic device to be firmly attached to the chest for more than a month.

An ultra-thin 0.004 mm thick organic solar cell module was installed on the dorsal side of the abdomen. Body-mounted ultra-thin organic solar cell module achieves a strong output 17.2 megawatts, which is more than 50 times the power output of the current state-of-the-art energy harvesting equipment for live insects,” according to Fukuda.

The ultra-thin and flexible organic solar cell, and how it attaches to the insect, has proven essential to ensure freedom of movement. After carefully examining the crickets’ natural movements, the researchers realized that the abdomen changes the shape and parts of the exoskeleton overlap. To accommodate this, they interleaved the adhesive and non-adhesive sections on the films, allowing them to flex but also stay adherent. When thick solar cell films were tested, or when the films were uniformly glued, the crickets took twice as long to run the same distance, and had trouble correcting themselves when on their backs.

Once these components were incorporated into the crickets, along with the wires that stimulated the leg parts, the new cyborgs were tested. The the battery Charged with pseudo-sunlight for 30 min, the animals were made to turn left and right using the wireless remote control.

“Given the deformation of the chest and abdomen during basic locomotion, a hybrid electronic system consisting of rigid and flexible elements in the chest and ultra-soft abdominal devices appears to be an effective design for cyborgs,” says Fukuda. “Moreover, since belly deformation is not limited to crickets, our strategy can be adapted to other insects such as beetles, or perhaps even flying insects Like cicadas of the future. ”


Ultra-thin organic solar cells are efficient and durable


more information:
Yujiro Kakei et al, Integration of Body Mounted Ultra-Solid Organic Solar Cells on Insect Cyborgs with Proper Locomotion, npj flexible electronics (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41528-022-00207-2

the quote: robo-bug: rechargeable remote-controlled cyborg cockroach (2022, September 5) Retrieved September 5, 2022 from

This document is subject to copyright. Notwithstanding any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.