Robotic cockroaches influence, exploit living clans

Strangely enough, we've seen robotic roaches in action before, but a new report focusing on nature's influence on mechanical creatures substantiates some of our worse fears. Apparently, a team of researchers led by Jose Halloy of the University Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium crafted "cockroach-sized robots that interacted with their living counterparts." The critters themselves did not actually resemble cockroaches, but they were doused with chemicals to mimic the authentic aroma; subsequently, these autonomous pests were able to persuade a clan of real roaches to choose a poor (light) shelter over a dark alternative, sparking worry that humanoids may one day use these very tactics to lead us straight to our demise. On the real, the gurus behind the research are looking at the trials to "explore decision-making mechanisms in group-living animals," which when you think about, really isn't any less frightening.

[Image courtesy of ETHZ]