×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Robots to Rid Us of Cockroaches?

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the this-is-how-it-begins dept.

Robotics 383

unassimilatible writes "It behaves like a cockroach. It smells like a cockroach. It is accepted by other cockroaches. But it is not a cockroach. It is a robot and scientists say its invention is a breakthrough in mankind's struggle to control the animal kingdom. The Sunday Times is reporting on a cool form of robotics, impersonating (inanimalnating?) animals. Leurre is a project on building and controlling mixed societies composed of animals and artificial agents. Within a decade, its inventors believe, it will be leading the unwanted pests out of dark kitchen corners, to where they can be eliminated. Additionally, they say they will soon be using robots to stop sheep jumping off cliffs and to encourage chickens to take exercise. Schematics, tools, and pictures here. Apparently, cockroaches do not wear tinfoil hats, as they are not smart enough to be suspicious of box-shaped circuit boards with an antennae sticking out."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

383 comments

The Mighty Drosophila Robot? (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832338)

FTA: It is a robot and scientists say its invention is a breakthrough in mankind's struggle to control the animal kingdom.

I would like to see a little drosophila robot lead all of the confounded fruit flies out of my kitchen and into the wild! (although I'm not sure where they'll put the batteries for that one)

If I could control the little robot, I might be tempted to send them right down the drain into my neighbour's place!

I see this as an excellent way to control animals, keep them off of roads and away from harm, but if I have to buy a robot dog to control my real dog, I might just buy a robot dog and leave it at that!

Lemming Bot (1)

perdelucena (455667) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832417)

They say they will soon be using robots to stop sheep jumping off cliffs and to encourage chickens to take exercise.

First I wish I had an Aibo, now I wanna my Lemming bot!

Re:The Mighty Drosophila Robot? (5, Informative)

WoBIX (819410) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832428)

Put a piece of banana in the bottom of a mason jar, and poke small holes in the lid. They'll find their way in there. Or do a search for fruit fly cultures on Google. Owners of Poison Dart Frogs usually breed their own cultures of wingless fruit flies as food. If you make the cultures, it produces CO2 that you would normally get rid of, but in this case leave it in and when the flies go to eat or lay eggs they'll asphyxiate.

Thanks! (1)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832531)

Put a piece of banana in the bottom of a mason jar, and poke small holes in the lid. They'll find their way in there.

I'm going to get that jar going right now! :-)

Never thought of that... and yet CHEAPER than a robot!

Re:The Mighty Drosophila Robot? (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832693)

> Put a piece of banana in the bottom of a mason jar, and poke small holes in the lid. They'll find their way in there.

...or at least, one of them will. After a few days, you'll think you've caught hundreds of 'em, so you'll feel better :)

Re:The Mighty Drosophila Robot? (4, Interesting)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832717)

That's a great idea, but might I suggest a slight modification.

Instead of poking holes into a perfectly good lid, why don't you lay thin wires across the opening of the jar and run a small current across it. That way, once they try to enter the jar, they get zapped!

It works! I have a fly swatter that has metal wires in place of the swatter which works the same way.

Same principle, but on a jar. The bonus is that every time a fly lands, you are treated to a sound and light show!

Re:The Mighty Drosophila Robot? (2, Funny)

psmurf (808573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832471)

easier solution to your fruitfly predicament: leave plastic bag on counter with yummy fruit inside. Wait a day or two, you will find all your little fly friends are now happily perched in the bag. Tie up bag and throw away.

PWN TEH NUB (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832344)

But then... (5, Funny)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832351)

...who will rid us of the robots?

Re:But then... (-1)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832437)

I, for one, welcome our new robotic cockroach-like overlords...But of course we could build other robots with big shoes to get rid of the cockroach robots.

Re:But then... (1)

og_sh0x (520297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832687)

They can't reproduce and probably have a limited supply of energy. Once their energy supply is drained they won't be a problem.

No tinfoil-hats for cockroaches? (5, Funny)

Cade144 (553696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832352)

New market opportunity:

  1. Develop cockroach-fooling robots;
  2. Lure foolish insects to their doom;
  3. Develop cockroach-tinfoil-hats;
  4. Sell tinfoil hats to remaining cockroaches;
  5. Profit!
  6. Go bankrupt when cockroaches develop their own tinfoil-hat industry.

You forgot... (4, Funny)

Schwartzboy (653985) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832535)

3.5. Develop advanced tinfoil-production methods that reduce costs to 1% of the former foil-making budget, mark up the price of hats 137%

and then

8. Lobby Congress to pass legislation granting a legal tinfoil-hat monopoly to prevent piracy of copyrighted hat design

9. Sue cockroaches who buy their tinfoil from "bootleg" foil distributors in Hong Kong or over the internet

10. ???
....

In this context... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832353)

In this context... the correct word is "antenna", not antennae.

Yeah....... (5, Funny)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832357)

But can it survive a nuclear attack?

no.

score one for mother nature.

Re:Yeah....... (1)

calophi (831610) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832434)

The again, a lot of humans won't survive a nuclear attack either, and then there won't be a need for fake cockroach robots to get rid of cockroaches anyway.

Re:Yeah....... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832615)

And sometimes, not to evolve is the best form of evolution, especially if it has kept your species alive for countless eons.

Re:Yeah....... (1)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832623)


i'm curious, what do you mean by 'survive'?

the chip's never alive, and materially, metal should outlast cockroach.

Re:Yeah....... (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832730)

ahhh, pedants.
lets see now.
1 : to remain alive or in existence : live on
2 : to continue to function or prosper transitive senses
3 : to remain alive after the death of
4 : to continue to exist or live after
5 : to continue to function or prosper despite : WITHSTAND

1 - subject to debate on definition of "life"
2 - nope, melted no functioning
3 - see 1
4 - exist, well, materially it will have existed maybe, but most people don't consider the rubble of a building to survive an earthquake - ditto a melted circuitboard.
5 - no functioning.

I score your pedantry a 2 out of 5

Re:Yeah....... (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832728)

But that's the perfect solution! We fix the problem by eliminating humanity. Therefore, the roaches left won't be bothering anyone.

That's how government would probably fix a problem like this. Don't eliminate the problem, eliminate the ones complaining about the problem.

Imagine (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832359)

A world without lawyers

Robot Fight Club (5, Funny)

SallyMac (815623) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832362)

What happens when the robot that vaccums your floor sucks up your cockroach robot? Do they fight to the death?

At first I thought -Who will think of the roaches? (5, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832371)

But then I saw the boxy green things, and it occured to me, if the roaches are fscking stupid enough to accept it as one of their own, they deserve to be exterminated by it.

Re:At first I thought -Who will think of the roach (1, Funny)

relaxrelax (820738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832565)


We need robot republicans.

It's not that hard to program, republicans don't believe in moral ambiguity or accountability. So you don't even have to program the fuzzy logic thing.

And make sure to make a Bill Gates Bot. (-;

They need robots for this? (5, Funny)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832377)

they say they will soon be using robots to stop sheep jumping off cliffs

Or a... fence.

Re:They need robots for this? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832470)

You must be new here.

Re:They need robots for this? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832674)

Actually, my thought is the sheep were just practicing base jumping but since none ever came back the other sheep had to go and see what was what.

In Soviet Russia ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832378)

Robot Rids You!

Makes my day... (1)

Avyakata (825132) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832392)

Just what we need...fake cockroaches to do a better job annoying us than real ones do...

Mmm...how I love the artificial smell of cockroach in the morning...

The First Terminator (5, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832419)

This roach bot should be called the CyberDyne Systems T-1. The First Terminator, a robot designed to infiltrate a population and eliminate it.

Human models should be available in a few decades.

Re:The First Terminator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832532)

"A lot of chickens don't move at all and die as a result. They need to be encouraged to run around. Robots could do that," he said.

Gee, the chickens are so depressed we have to build artificial friends for them. What's wrong with this picture?

On the other hand, I see a need for a human version.

Re:The First Terminator (1)

SenatorOrrinHatch (741838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832601)

Gib me se Uzi nein millimeta... forty-five caliber lawgslide viz lazer site... and ze pulse laser rifle in ze five megawatt range!

Re:The First Terminator (1)

Sabaki (531686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832665)

I think you mean CyberDyne Systems T-0.00001

I'm expecting a cockroach warrior from the future to show up in my kitchen any day now.

Poor Chickens (4, Funny)

xThinkx (680615) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832425)

"and to encourage chickens to take exercise"
...Please leave the chickens alone, they have enough of a problem running from the farmer when his wife is out of town.

I'll really be impressed... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832426)

...when these robots are so effective, the male roaches will mount them, and get their little roach members snipped off.

"And then the Cyborgs came." (1)

omghi2u (808195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832427)

"And then the Cyborgs came."

Re:"And then the Cyborgs came." (5, Funny)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832660)

"And then the Cyborgs came."

I just realized how many movies and books could be greatly improved by adding that line to the end narration.

Re:"And then the Cyborgs came." (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832723)

Yes, a robot roach would remind me of the "Constructors" from the SG1 episodes. Nasty little things looked liked roaches and reproduced themselves quickly and could copy other beings. Some things are better off NOT invented.

No fan of cockroaches (3, Insightful)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832430)

While I hate the little buggers as much as anyone else - shouldn't we be careful of technology designed to eliminate a creature...cockroaches do eat things and they are eaten by other things. If they die, it will have harmful effects like hurting the food chain. Then again, they are insects and it is really really hard to make an insect species go extinct...
I do like the fact this can be used to do things like teach chickens to exercise (I hate my KFC being fatty), and sheep to jump off cliffs (do they do this? Shouldn't we get them like psycho-therapy?)

Re:No fan of cockroaches (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832518)

Who really wants a food chain in their house? The goal here isn't to make cockroaches extinct (not going to happen), but to make homes roach-free.

Re:No fan of cockroaches (2, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832546)

Well, theoretically, being able to control them more precisely would be preferable to outright killing them... If we're able to control them better over time (eg. to the extent of moving populations to some other geographical area), but can at least reverse our invasiveness to some extent if we later change our minds. If we simply kill them, that's much harder to reverse, especially if we don't know how to control them.

Re:No fan of cockroaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832675)

I doubt a few household anti-roach robots are going to affect the entire ecosystem. My concern is that the cockroaches will quickly develop around this robot, mutating into a much more pernicious species that attacks robots and other electronic devices. You know, like how we supposedly have strains of various viruses and bacteria that are now more resistant to medications and vaccines than they were before the use of those things was widespread.

Sheeps and Cliffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832702)

sheep to jump off cliffs (do they do this? Shouldn't we get them like psycho-therapy?)

It's to get away from the shepherds. The sheep push back harder the closer they are to a cliff. They still have their limits, though.

Disappointing (-1, Offtopic)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832431)

I haven't seen any "I for one welcome..." posts!

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832563)

In Soviet Russia, "I for one welcome..." posts see *you*!

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832598)

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=129890 &cid=10832437

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832713)

That's cause Franz Kafka's don't post to slashdot.

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832734)

The last time I tried "I for one, welcome our new robot overlords" thread it was sh1tc4nn3d by the mods.

Even 4n0nym0u5ly.

go figure.

This isn't exactly... (3, Interesting)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832447)

...news...

Bottom of the main page: "Last Update 20/10/03 14:37"

My big point, though; the site provides specs, images, everything one might need to actually build one; I wonder how complicated it would be..

Welcome to "Joe's Apartment" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832671)

It has been over a year since this was announced? Bet Brooklyn is filled with them by now, and only NOW do the tell us. Sheesh!

Re:This isn't exactly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832700)

You can download the source for complete operating systems. How complicated could it really be?

Seriously though... did you find the source code for the two microcontrollers on the site? Maybe I didn't look hard enough...

But soon... (5, Insightful)

ExileOnHoth (53325) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832454)

And then, soon, the only cockroaches who survive will be those who can tell the difference between a robot and a real roach.

In other words, the smart ones.

Great idea, guys.

Arms race against evolution (2, Insightful)

stripmarkup (629598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832459)

How long until cockroaches adapt and stop following the robot? I bet it won't take very long. A cockroach can yield thousands of offspring every year.

Re:Arms race against evolution (1)

relaxrelax (820738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832661)


And mother nature isn't limited by the 640K limit or the GPL virus, either!

Monsato will soon make GM cockroaches to compete, and if you don't manage to kill those off (superiorly pesticide resistant just like roundup) cockroaches you owe them money. (-;

why dominate the animal kingdom (0, Flamebait)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832463)

mankind's struggle to control the animal kingdom

Geez, what an anthropocentric and judeo-christian thing to say.

Re:why dominate the animal kingdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832642)

Spoken like someone who's never tried to get rid of cockroaches.

Stupid tounge twister- you go squish now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832467)

Howabout instead of calling it "inanimalnating-ing..ing" animals, we call it "roboticizing" animals

Re:Stupid tounge twister- you go squish now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832585)

is that like jazzercize for robots?

Encourage chickens to take exercise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832488)

..and it has four legs and barks *woof woof*. ;-)

Tell me when they have a box elder bug version (1)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832489)

If there is one that will lead the box elder bugs from my house and yard and take them somewhere else then please, please tell me about it!

'control or kill' the animal kingdom. (0, Troll)

davro (539320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832493)

It behaves like a cockroach, i bet it don`t. It smells like a cockroach, come on dude. It is accepted by other cockroaches, now you having a laugh, is it allowed to the secret cockroach raves, i don`t think so. But it is not a cockroach, well your right there. Let be honest we don`t want to control the animal kingdom we either want to kill the animal for either food or clothes or such.

Roachbots... (1)

KennyP (724304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832521)

They could be useful for picking stuff up off of the ground, finding your stash, etc. Kenny P. Visualize Whirled P.'s

Coming soon to a supermarket near you (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832528)

Raid®: EMP. Robot Ant and Roach killer.

You have cockroaches? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832537)

I'm all for our new robot cockroach overlords, but how about just cleaning your damn house?

Infiltration unit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832566)

It smell like a cockroach. It move like a cockroach. But underneath, it's just circuit boards and sensors. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with...it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear...
and it absolutely will not stop.

Ever.

Until all cockroaches are dead.

heh (1)

th3space (531154) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832567)

They've outlived almost every other complex organism going, and they're fooled by a silicon box. Cockroaches get what they deserve if they fall for this thing.

The Japanese are already way ahead of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832572)

But their robots look like tiny maids [anidb.ath.cx]

Sheep (5, Funny)

graphicartist82 (462767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832583)

Additionally, they say they will soon be using robots to stop sheep jumping off cliffs [...] I thought sheep were supposed to push back when they are near the edge of a cliff.... oh wait... nevermind

Yeah yeah yeah... (1)

corporatemutantninja (533295) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832594)

..and if we don't pay off the robot designers they'll lure our kids off, never to be seen again. YAWWWWWWN. Haven't we heard this plot before? No, seriously, the interesting part of this will be to see how quickly cockroaches evolve to counter the robots. And the ensuing arms race twixt nature & engineers will be endlessly amusing.

Oh No!! (3, Funny)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832599)

"It behaves like a cockroach. It smells like a cockroach. It is accepted by other cockroaches. But it is not a cockroach."

Oh God! I just stomped on my $1,200 Robo-Roach!! Arrrgggghhh!

Speaking as a cockroach, (2, Interesting)

Sai Babu (827212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832609)


"I for one welcome our transistor festoned friends".

Seriously, another use for Duct tape.
A/K/A/ household hint #444.
If you lay duct tape around the perimeter of a room before retiring, any cockroaches who attempt to cross will become attached to the aDuct tape and are easily disposed of in the morning.

Do those cubic robots remind you of anything? (3, Funny)

El (94934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832627)

How do you say "Resistance is futile... You will be assimilated!" in cockroach?

Life mirrors art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832632)

At first I thought this had to be a joke, because I recently read about an anime in which -- get this -- miniature robots are programmed to kill cockroaches. Of course, the robots in Ichigeki Sacchuu!! Hoi Hoi-san [karmaburn.com] are a bit cuter than these, but it's only a matter of time...

Anyone else read this as.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832666)

Robots to Rid of Us Cockroaches?

Another shotgun wielding robot story (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832677)

It seems like we have had a robot story every few days recently. Makes me wonder where the robot lobby is getting their money for this advertising campaign.

Addressing the symptom not the problem? (4, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832678)

The best way to get rid of roaches is to get rid of their food and water sources.

This is simply a robotic equivilant of pesticides... you are eliminating a symptom of the problem (Cockroaches) instead of eliminating the actual problem (Food waste, dirty houses).

If you developed little robots to pick up all all those food crumbs and eliminate any spills and puddles, the Cockroaches won't prosper.

I guess in older houses they might still eat wall the wallpaper...

errr.. (1)

Red Dane (771396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832692)

So, does it come with a pipe + music so it can hypnotize the other roaches into leaving town with it?

just another predator (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832696)

Within a decade, its inventors believe, it will be leading the unwanted pests out of dark kitchen corners, to where they can be eliminated.

Roaches have been evolving for millions of years to avoid predation. This is just another johnny-come-lately predator for the humble roach. Give the roaches a few hundred generations and they'll adapt to it.

And the next one we build.

And so on.

Doesn't change the coolness factor one bit though.

This won't save us from roaches (3, Insightful)

ozborn (161426) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832708)

These types of robots will create selective pressure against roaches unable to distinguish robots as unfriendly, be it through olfactory, visual or behavioural means. There will be massive positive selection pressure for cockroaches who know their own.

Interestingly while the robots may be scented with roach smell, this puts the manufacturer in the position of a chemical/behavioural arms race with roaches to produce acceptable robots. My money is on the roaches, since they have been around for several hundred million years.

Darwin At Work (1)

Nepre (252512) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832709)

Apparently, cockroaches do not wear tinfoil hats, as they are not smart enough to be suspicious of box-shaped circuit boards with an antennae sticking out.

Well, not yet, anyway. This strategy kills cockroaches that trust these devices. Soon, only those cockroaches that don't trust robots will be left to reproduce. My guess is that it takes less than a year for a cockroach population to become immune to such tricks.

X-files. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10832714)

This was already an X-Files episode. Can't science come up with something original?

Cockroach eater (1)

Malluck (413074) | more than 9 years ago | (#10832725)

So all you need to do is incorperate the technology of the fly-eating-robot, but adapt it to eat cockroaches.

Ugh.

On second thought, I find the idea of a critter that eats roaches to somehow be grosser than the roaches themselves. You'd have that unmistakable cruching sound of the roache's shell coming from the corners of your house as this thing feeds.

Maybe not such a great idea.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...