Poor Rodney Dangerfield never got the respect he always wanted. Neither did cockroaches. Although cockroaches never did any stand up comedy routines like Rodney did.
Now out of Charlotte, North Carolina comes this story about cockroaches who may be finally getting the well deserved respect they have so longed for. After all, cockroaches have been around as long as mankind. Maybe even before mankind. Who knows? Only a cockroach knows for sure.
Anyhow, in a news release by CBS Charlotte, a team of researchers at North Carolina State University have harnessed the cockroach’s movements through electrical signals and believe that these cockroaches could help find people trapped in collapsed buildings and other disaster zones unnavigable by humans.
Because, as we all know, cockroaches will go places that we humans will not. Places like your local dump, sewers, garbage cans, dumpsters, and whatever N. J. Governor Chris Christie doesn’t finish eating and throws in his garbage can.
So, with that in mind, these researchers at the university have figured out that if they can somehow train these cockroaches to seek out disaster victims by controlling its movements, it might help them locate victims. The only problem I see in this theory is that if I myself were trapped in a disaster under a pile of debris and saw a cockroach coming at me I’d swat the livin’ daylights outta it. Thereby negating all chances of me being rescued by a cockroach.
The way this is supposed to work is, “firing wireless signals at a roach’s antennae and other sensory organs to guide it to a desired destination,” so says Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor in North Carolina State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Hmmmm. Firing wireless signals. Kinda like your cell phone receives. I guess. But boy are you screwed if those roaches drop a call. You know how totally undependable roach cell phone signals are. Especially in those hilly garbage dump areas.
So this guy Bozkurt has managed to communicate with Madagascar hissing cockroaches by saddling them with electrical devices that look like backpacks. Each insect cockroach included a thin, rigid, printed circuit board with a microcontroller, a wireless signal receiver, miniature plugs for connecting stimulation electrodes and a lithium-ion polymer battery. Kind like a roach having its own iPod.
Geez….these cockroaches have it better than your average kid going to school with a damn ordinary backpack that only has books, a few school supplies and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in it. WTF!
Now there was no mention in this article if the cockroaches were also fitted with mini cameras so that they could see what cockroaches see. Not that anyone would care what the hell a cockroach sees in its daily life, but maybe what it sees if it’s on a rescue mission searching for victims.
They have experimented with these cockroaches by sending pulses to its antenna. (yes, cockroaches still have antennas because most cockroaches can’t afford cable TV or satellite receivers) So by doing this they can direct the insects towards any direction. Which, I guess helps in directing them towards searching for disaster victims.
Right now it’s only in the experimental stage but they have great hopes for cockroaches becoming part of a first responder team in a disaster. They’re even, as we speak, or write, developing an even smaller backpack for the cockroaches which would give researchers more precise control of their movement. Plus, smaller backpacks are less expensive. But I’m sure all of you with children already know that.
So given the resilience of cockroaches and their ability to withstand anything thrown in their faces, or whatever you call a cockroach’s face, they would appear to be perfectly suited for search and recover missions. However, I personally think that given the bad rap and lack of respect cockroaches have, that researchers should consider equipping them with tiny little digital pre-programmed messages with a series of responses should they encounter any difficulty during their rescue missions.
Like: “Please stop that screaming, I’m not here to gnaw on your body. I’m here to rescue you.” (this works fine unless the cockroach lost its antenna, is unable to communicate with the controllers outside and is very hungry)
OR: “Sir/Madam, please do not panic. I know I look like a cockroach, but simply keep in mind the image of “Beauty and the Beast.” In this instance, “Beauty and the Cockroach.” And, no, you do not have to kiss me.”
OR: “HAH! I found a survivor sir! If I can just squeeze my little cockroach body into this tiny crevice I can give you a detailed evaluation of the condition of the victim. Oh damn, I just knocked off my communication antenna. Now what? Hmmmm. Oh well……bon appetit”
Now why couldn’t these researchers have experimented with a more friendly less disgusting insect. Like a lady bug or something. Or at least a baby piglet.
Hell. If everything else failed and there was no hope after the piglet found ya, you could at least enjoy one last meal. A ham sandwich.
Just a thought guys.
(UPDATE) My potato chip that’s shaped like the Apple” computer logo that I actually posted on eBay has received no bids and will end today. Looks like tuna and chip time pretty soon.
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