"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.


Former Crockett County Schools Technology Director Indicted

Special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for the former Crockett County School System Technology director, charging the Halls man with theft, tampering with evidence and official misconduct. At the request of 28 th  District Attorney General Garry Brown, TBI special agents, working in conjunction with investigators with the Tennessee ... (click for more)

ChattState SkillsUSA Students Earn National Medals

Chattanooga State’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology students brought home four medals – three gold and one bronze – during the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky Students earning gold medals in Job Demonstration were Tiffany Hammond, Wildwood; model Kristyn Huskey, Pikeville; and Renee Richardson, advisor. A gold medal in Mechatronics ... (click for more)

Thousands Line Route For Funeral Procession Of Sailor Slain In Chattanooga Shooting; Wife Sings Song At Funeral She Was Singing When They Met

Thousands of people waving flags and signs again lined the streets and highways of Chattanooga for the second of two local funerals for military personnel slain by a gunman on July 16. And at the funeral service for Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith, his wife, Angie, sang the song she was singing the first time they met. She said she was singing "You say it best when ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Declared He Was "An Innocent Man" On Child Pornography Charges Gets Conviction, 24-Year Sentence Overturned

The Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a Chattanooga man who claimed at his trial and sentencing that he was wrongfully convicted by a jury of possession and distribution of child pornography. James Paul Lowe had been sentenced in May to serve 24 years in federal prison. After the sentencing, he had bid his family goodbye and told them to ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chanie's Puzzling Poem

Ronnie Joice was in a bar in north London when he spied a poem tacked to the wall. The more he studied it, the more it revealed and, suddenly, he was floored. I don’t need to tell you it has gone viral, cheering people up particularly in England, but it is fun to know it was written by an 11 th -grader at an all-girls school in New York. Chanie Gorkin first posted it on her page ... (click for more)