Researchers have created a robot grasshopper that can smell cancer

Deepak Gupta June 22, 2022
Updated 2022/06/22 at 8:52 PM

It is not the first time that researchers have used an animal to build a device capable of traversing the human body. This time, a team has roboticized a grasshopper and endowed it with the ability to smell cancer.

That’s right: robot locusts capable of differentiating the types of cancer cells.

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There are animals with an impressive ability to sniff, detecting, whatever is needed. From blood and corpses, to, as you must remember, COVID-19. As they work, the idea of ​​using them to detect diseases in humans has gained interest and we bring you the latest innovation in this field.

A team of researchers from Michigan State University has unveiled an innovative cancer screening system. The research was published in bioRXiv and presents, in detail, these new locusts.

The insect is dead in terms of its bodily function. We're just keeping your brain alive.

Explained Professor Debajit Saha.

According to MIT Technology Review, technology involves locusts surgically altered with electrodes implanted in the lobes of their brains. These were placed by Debajit Saha and his colleagues, and served to capture the signals from the antennae of each insect – it is through them that the animal senses the odors.

Grasshoppers with electrodes attached to their antennae

In addition to these electrodes, the team of researchers grew three different types of cancer cells in the human mouth, as well as a set of healthy cells, and built a device to capture the gases emitted by these tissues. In this way, he was able to see that the locust brain responded differently to each type of tissue and correctly identified diseased cells.

Although the findings have shown potential, the study has not yet been reviewed and it is uncertain whether regulators such as the US Food and Drug Administration will approve this type of screening. In addition, the treatment of locusts could raise ethical questions.

Still, the team intends to continue working to improve the system. After all, for now it takes 10 grasshopper brains for the technology to work and the team intends to reduce this number to one, as well as make the device that connects the electrodes to the antennas portable.

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