"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.


Crash Survivor Austin Hatch To Speak At McCallie’s Dr Pepper TEN Classic Luncheon

Austin Hatch will bring his story of survival and perseverance to the McCallie School on the afternoon of Feb. 3, 2017, as the featured speaker at the Mountain View Auto Group Luncheon for the second annual McCallie Dr Pepper TEN Classic basketball showcase.  Mr. Hatch survived two plane crashes before graduating from high school — one in 2003 that killed his mother and ... (click for more)

Siemens Healthineers Donates ACUSON S2000Ultrasound System To GNTC

Siemens Healthineers donated an ACUSON S2000 Ultrasound system to Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) to provide real-world laboratory experience to students in the Adult Echocardiography, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and Vascular programs. “I would really like for my students to experience working with a Siemens Healthineers Ultrasound system  before they go ... (click for more)

2 Juveniles Arrested For Arson In Sevier County Fires

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in charges being placed against two juveniles in connection with the deadly wildfires in Sevier County.  Last week, at the request of 4 th  District Attorney ... (click for more)

Walker County Will No Longer Have Full-Time County Attorney Under Whitfield Tenure; Will Add Full-Time Communications Director

Incoming Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said under his administration there will no longer be a full-time county attorney. "We will outsource this service on a fee basis," he said. Mr. Whitfield said he has begun interviewing attorneys who might be able to help out the county from time to time. Don Oliver has long been the county attorney for Walker County ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Cost Of No Discipline

At the start of the current school year, state education officials gathered at some “state testing task force” when disciplinary records from across Tennessee happened to be revealed. You probably are unaware of this, as it seems to have been kept on the “down low,” but statewide a full 20 percent of the black males in our public schools were suspended at least once during the 2014-2015 ... (click for more)