Human To Cockroach Brain-Brain Interface Achieved

Cockroaches fitted with electronic backpacks can be wirelessly controlled by human thought.

AsianScientist (Jun. 24, 2015) – Researchers from the Laboratory for Bio Robotics and Biological Robots at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) have devised a way to control cockroaches with their minds.

Under the guidance of Associate Professor Zhang Dingguo, postgraduate student Mr. Li Guangye demonstrated how he could control a living cockroach with his thoughts while connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG). The as yet unpublished work won the second prize in the 2015 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society students’ video contest and was exhibited at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2015) held on May 26-30, 2015.

The research establishes a functional “brain-brain interface” between human and cockroach, sending signals of the human mind to the brain of cockroach and achieving remote wireless control of cockroach’s action. To do this, the controller wears a portable wireless EEG that picks up his or her brain signals and transmits them to a receiver via Bluetooth.

The computer then decodes the brain wave received and recognizes the directional intention of the controller, changing it into a controlling signal and sending it to the electronic backpack receiver on the back of the cockroach. The backpack then sends specific electric pulses to the antennal nerve of the cockroach through intrusive electrical nerve stimulation, enabling the control of the cockroach by human beings.

Using this set up, the researchers were able to control the cockroach with their thoughts, making it walk in a S-shaped path and Z-shaped path. In the future, this system could also be used for complex terrain reconnaissance or risk-elimination. The researchers added that they will further their research by upgrading the controlling mode to realize the control of multiple cockroaches by several controllers at the same time.


Source: Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
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