Robot Attracts Cockroaches
A smelly yet highly sociable mini robot, has become a femme fatale to the cockroach.
European scientists have spent three years developing a mini robot that can convince cockroaches to come out of their dark hiding places into areas of light where they can be removed by a pest control officer.
The InsBot looks more like a pencil sharpener than a household pest, but it smells like a cockroach. It has a cocktail of pheromones and molecules painted on its body, allowing it to infiltrate the cockroach community.
Jean-Louis Deneubourg, director of the social ecology laboratory at Universite Libre de Bruxelles, says the success of the €3m EU-funded experiment has ramifications for more than just pest control: "We know very little about how decentralised communities of beings, like cockroaches or ants, reach collective decisions."
Experiments have shown that cockroaches are highly sociable creatures and will opt for areas where one or more of their peers are gathered. The more cockroaches are attracted to a certain area, the more likely it is that further insects from the colony will be attracted.
Deneubourg believes it will soon be possible to develop an ‘intelligent roach nest’ in which his mini robots are positioned to tease cockroaches into human stamping range.
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