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CyberCritter Roundup

May 26, 2006

Animal trainers, beware: Scientists are coming up with high-tech ways to control the actions of animals from sharks to cockroaches.


Building cybercritters. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

James Bond films often feature sharks eating secret agents; research funded by the US military may soon have them teaming up. At this year’s Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu, researchers described devices implanted into sharks’ brains that produce signals mimicking attractive odors on either the sharks’ left or right side. The signals make the sharks steer in that direction. The animals could one day carry spy cameras or sensors that detect explosives.

At the Free University of Brussels, engineers are developing tiny robot cockroaches. Covered in insect pheromones—chemical that tell other roaches to follow or go away—the robots can control the behavior of the real bugs. The research could lead to better insect control. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.