"RoboRoaches" Invade McCallie

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Students in Dr. Elizabeth Forrester’s AP Biology class at McCallie created a homegrown batch of the world’s first commercially available cyborg roaches, or “Robo Roaches,” as a way to better understand neural microstimulation.

After a week of neuroscience lectures, students put their knowledge to task as they were asked to perform surgery on cockroaches, implanting electrodes into the insect’s antennae that could then control the roaches’ movements via a smartphone app. 

Throughout the year, students learned that even though organisms appear very different at the cellular level, they share other similarities. The human nervous system is much more complex than that of a cockroach, but the structure and function of an individual’s neurons is very similar, allowing students to learn about the human brain via “Robo Roaches,” said officials.

The boys would first anesthetize the roaches in ice water. Then, through an 90-minute-long surgical procedure, they would cut a portion of the antennae and implant electrodes which would touch the insect’s nerves. After the roaches recovered overnight from surgery, the boys would then attach a Bluetooth backpack called a SpikerBox which would receive information from a smartphone app. This allowed the boys to send electrical impulses to the antennae, which in turn directed the movement of the roaches. 

Some of the experiments were more successful than others, which was also a part of the learning experience, according to Dr. Forrester.

She noted that “by testing the early prototypes, the boys are helping to generate data that will ultimately improve the technology.” Having tested the early cyborg prototypes, the boys helped to generate data that will improve the system so that it can be used practically for rescue in natural disasters. For example, she said, the roaches could eventually be equipped with cameras and sent into rubble in hopes of locating victims.


Chattanooga State Students Create ‘Green Alternative’ Solar Recharging Stations

“A collective team effort between faculty, staff, and students resulted in the creation of a solar recharging station that stands ready to provide a renewable energy source for Chattanooga State students. It serves as a ‘green’ alternative to charge or power their phones, laptops, tablets, and other personal devices,” said Tim McGhee, dean, Engineering and Information Technologies. ... (click for more)

Causeway, Community Foundation Come Together To Fund New Parent-Focused Education Projects

The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga has partnered with Causeway to fund two  parent-focused education projects, the Orchard Knob Middle School Back to School Bash, and Essential Spark, an after-school arts and culture program for pre-K children and their parents. Both projects were finalists in the Causeway Challenge, which asked community members to submit ... (click for more)

Blakemore, Corbett, Rachels Charged In Red Bank Heroin Death

Three Chattanooga residents have been charged with distribution of heroin that led to the death of an individual in Red Bank in February. Authorities have cited a recent rise in heroin abuse in the Chattanooga area, causing several overdose deaths, including three in one recent weekend.   A federal grand jury on Tuesday returned a superseding indictment charging ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Multiple Times On 4th Avenue; 2nd Youth Shot Twice On Pinewood Avenue; Woman Shot Twice On 25th Street

A teen was shot multiple times on 4th Avenue on Monday night. The victim was 19-year-old JaMarcus Davis. A second teen, 18-year-old Jaylain Ballard, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on Pinewood Avenue. Marion Heard, 45, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on 25th Street. In the first incident, Chattanooga Police responded at 7:20 p.m. to the area of the 2600 block ... (click for more)

General Bell: Chattanooga Needs The Coolidge Medal Of Honor Heritage Center - And Response (7)

I'm pleased and indeed compelled to let you know a bit more about the exciting and most honorable "Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center" planned for Coolidge Park.     Here's what the Heritage Center will be:  It will be a fitting capstone for Chattanooga's Coolidge Park on Northshore in downtown Chattanooga.  While this exceptional Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pat Summitt’s Dash

In 1996 a woman named Linda Ellis wrote one of life’s most beautiful poems. Called “The Dash,” its first two verses read like this: “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. “He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what ... (click for more)