facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Study: 'Biobots' may help map hidden, dangerous environments

Oct. 17, 2013 at 7:03 PM   |   Comments

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A swarm of insect cyborgs, or "biobots," may one day allow the mapping of unknown and dangerous environments such as collapsed buildings, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers from North Carolina State University say they have have developed software that could track a swarm of biobots, such as remotely controlled cockroaches, equipped with electronic sensors and released into a collapsed building or other hard-to-reach area.

"We focused on how to map areas where you have little or no precise information on where each biobot is, such as a collapsed building where you can't use GPS technology," electrical and computer engineering Professor Edgar Lobaton said.

Because the biobots couldn't be tracked by GPS, their precise locations would be unknown, but the sensors would signal researchers via radio waves whenever biobots got close to each other.

The researchers would send a signal commanding the biobots to keep moving until they encounter a wall or other unbroken surface, then keep moving along it, a technique called "wall following."

Repeating cycles of random movement and "wall following" would eventually allow the creation of a map of the unknown environment, they said.

"This would give first responders a good idea of the layout in a previously unmapped area," Lobaton said.

The researchers report they've tested the software using computer simulations and robots and have plans to test the program with biobots.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Rock-eating bacteria discovered in buried Antarctic lake
2
Spiders prefer the city life
3
Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg: I'll take the ice bucket challenge, and improve it
4
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
5
Seals, sea lions likely spread tuberculosis to humans
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback