Cockroach saves the day!

Vitamindz Education

SUITABILITY LEVEL: P6

RELATED SCIENCE TOPICS:

  1. Man’s impact on the Environment
  2. Adaptation

Madagascar Hissing cockroach!!!

Image Source: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/cockroach-care-sheet.htm

Just the name and the look of it gives everyone the creeps! Being an unwelcome pest to many people, cockroaches are known to have the ability to invade homes through the tiniest gaps. However, these pests have become the hero by turning into rescuers at disaster sites.

A team of researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have invented a lifesaving ‘Cyborg’ cockroach (hardwired biological insect) with several sensors on its back and a small infra-red camera that can detect life by picking temperature signatures. These cyborg bugs are released into search-and-rescue sites during disasters such as earthquakes to seek out survivors under the rubble.

Image Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26525-cyborg-cockroaches-home-in-on-sounds-of-distress/

Find out more about Cyborg here:
Straits times:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/spore-team-turning-cockroaches-into-life-saving-cyborg-bugs-at-disaster-sites

What we see in the above picture is the idea of biomimicry. Biomimicry is the act of mimicking an animal. Inspired by the features of the cockroaches’ structural and behavioural adaptation, scientists and researchers attempt to mimic them in their invention to help save survivors.

This fascinating tiny invertebrate specie have been around for approximately 300 million years and are hardy creatures that can withstand 10 times more radiation than humans. They are resilient and naturally could spend their lives in dirty environment with no ill effects. These characteristics make them the best candidate to enter disaster sites.

In addition, cockroaches are small with springy legs and flexible exoskeletons which enable them to penetrate through small gaps and complex terrains. Hence, cockroaches are ideal to access areas in disaster sites that are impossible for humans to access.

Are there other things you have come across that involves biomimicry?

Watch the video to see the secret wonderful abilities of cockroaches:

More about Madagascar hissing cockroach:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/madagascar-hissing-cockroach

References:
Straits times: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/spore-team-turning-cockroaches-into-life-saving-cyborg-bugs-at-disaster-sites
https://biomimicry.org/what-is-biomimicry/

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