This sounds like the kind of stuff that sci-fi movies are made out of. Researchers have been working to outfit insects with tiny electronic sensors in hopes of creating insects that can be used in applications ranging from search and rescue to espionage, reports John Roach for MSNBC.
Batteries alone installed on insects’ backs fail to deliver proper long-term power to support reconnaissance and first-response missions, Huffington Post reports. So researchers at the University of Michigan are developing techniques to harness the movement, body heat and the insects’ body chemistry.
The technique, basically a fuel cell, works by introducing a series of enzymes to break down complex molecules that the cockroach
produces when it eats, and oxidizing the resulting sugars to release electrons; these are then run through the fuel cell to create electricity.
This means that power can be produced without the insect needing to be in motion, and researchers are optimistic about the applications for such a technology.