You might want to think twice about squashing one of these little red fellas, assuming you don’t climb up on a chair on the sight of one. Scientists from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology as well as the Osaka University in Japan are currently working on developing a new fuel cell system which harnesses power from the cockroaches’ internal system and uses it to power a very small sensor that’s placed on their backs. Put a bunch of these cyborg cockroaches together and you’ve got a self powered wireless sensor network, at least in theory.
The fuel cell attached to cockroaches’ backs generates power through trehalose, a sugar contained in the bug’s bodily fluids. Complete with electrodes, a needle and a tank of body fluid, the fuel cell system can generate up to 50.2 μW (microwatts) of electric power, adequate enough to keep a small sensor running. The research teams can them simply develop a sensor for any specific need, and easily create a self powered small sensor network by placing them on cockroaches. There would be ample power to keep the network up and running for long periods of time as the cyborg cockroaches secrete the bodily fluid inside their shells.
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