Boffins unleash robotic cockroach

Rise of the Machines™ scuttles a little closer


A tripartite alliance of scientists has developed what it claims will will be the solution to the perennial cockroach problem - a robotic Judas roach which will have the capability to seek, locate and betray its insect counterparts. The Belgian, French and Swiss team says that the invention is "a breakthrough in mankind’s struggle to control the animal kingdom", the Times reports.

The undercover InsBot is the result of three years' research into cockroach behaviour which resulted in a computer programme allowing a cyberroach to mimic its victims' social habits. Professor Jean-Louis Deneubourg, of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, said: “Cockroaches like contact with each other. When they meet, they stay still. They are happy to be with a friend for a few moments. The more friends around them, the longer they stay.”

Bless. Next on the agenda was to construct the matchbox-sized InsBot and arm it with lasers, infra-red sensors and roach scent to allow it to move in complete darkness and properly interact with the cockroach community. Deneubourg is currently carrying out tests to demonstrate that while cockroaches will naturally gravitate to a dark shelter, if the Judas roach leads them to a lit shelter they will follow - presumably to their destruction. The prof notes: “It is plausible and realistic to imagine that, in five or ten years’ time, people with a cockroach infestation will be buying robots to get rid of them."

But it doesn't end there. The team also reckons its research will allow the development of robots to "stop sheep jumping off cliffs, to prevent outbreaks of panic among guinea fowl and to encourage chickens to take exercise". Indeed, the boffins are not targetting cockroaches per se, but just using the InsBot as a proof-of-concept device.

While we concede that a world free of panic-striken guinea fowl would be a safer, happier place for our children and that fitter chickens would relieve the NHS of a great burden, we cannot accept that even tentative development of a laser-guided cybernetic cockroach is anything other than a gravely misguided concept.

Although the InsBot researchers believe that they are contributing to our eventual subjugation of the animal kingdom, it's evident that taking the only creature on God's Earth capable of withstanding a nuclear holocaust and bringing it into contact with its ostensible nememis can only end one way - post apocalyptic winter with a human slave army serving the merciless hordes of bomb-proof, laser-armed roboroach hybrids. We cannot stress strongly enough that this research must stop now, the lab be consigned to the flames and all elements of the InsBot dissolved in molten steel. ®

The Rise of the Machines™

Ukrainian teen fights the Rise of the Machines
Man in satanic Renault terror ordeal
Killer cyberappliances: Satan implicated
US develops motorised robobollard
Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie
A robot in every home by 2010
Cyberappliances attack Italian village
Fire-breathing buses threaten London
Cyberloo blast rocks Stoke-on-Trent
Spanish cyberkiosks claim second victim
Cyberkiosk assaults Spanish teenager
Hi-tech toilet caught on camera
Hi-tech toilet swallows woman


Other stories you might like

  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading
  • Confirmed: Broadcom, VMware agree to $61b merger
    Unless anyone out there can make a better offer. Oh, Elon?

    Broadcom has confirmed it intends to acquire VMware in a deal that looks set to be worth $61 billion, if it goes ahead: the agreement provides for a “go-shop” provision under which the virtualization giant may solicit alternative offers.

    Rumors of the proposed merger emerged earlier this week, amid much speculation, but neither of the companies was prepared to comment on the deal before today, when it was disclosed that the boards of directors of both organizations have unanimously approved the agreement.

    Michael Dell and Silver Lake investors, which own just over half of the outstanding shares in VMware between both, have apparently signed support agreements to vote in favor of the transaction, so long as the VMware board continues to recommend the proposed transaction with chip designer Broadcom.

    Continue reading
  • Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7
    Sensibly written code only, please. Plus: what all those 'heated discussions' were about

    The much-anticipated Perl 7 continues to twinkle in the distance although the final release of 5.36.0 is "just around the corner", according to the Perl Steering Council.

    Well into its fourth decade, the fortunes of Perl have ebbed and flowed over the years. Things came to a head last year, with the departure of former "pumpking" Sawyer X, following what he described as community "hostility."

    Part of the issue stemmed from the planned version 7 release, a key element of which, according to a post by the steering council "was to significantly reduce the boilerplate needed at the top of your code, by enabling a lot of widely used modules / pragmas."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022