BANDUNG, itb.ac.id – A team of researchers with the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) is developing a cockroach-shaped robot that could be used for silent intelligence operation. This robot, the team says, is best for voice interception and spying activities that we frequently see in espionage films.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 ITB-CEO Net Technopreneurship Festival at the institute’s west auditorium, Tuesday, September 18, team member Muhammad Hablul Barri said the device’s development was based on the fact that insect-shaped robot had never been really marketed except as toys. Meanwhile, there is a growing need for silent spying technology. Overseas technology cannot be applied to ensure the secretive nature of a nation’s intelligence information.

“By developing this insect-shaped robot, we could help a nation to equip its intelligence devices independently and could contribute to the nation’s intelligence,” said Barri, an ITB graduate student in instrumentation and control.

Serving as team leader is Augie Widyotriatmo, S.T., M.T., Ph.D., from ITB’s school of industrial engineering. He is assisted by ITB’s undergraduate and graduate students. The development is conducted at school of industrial engineering’s laboratory for instrumentation and metrology.

He said that the robot had undergone a trial but had yet to be inserted in a cockroach-shaped cover that was still being developed by the team. “We have not been able to equip the robot with cover. Probably we would try putting it inside the cover next month. Basically we target to conclude this project by the end of this year. We are still developing it now,” he said.

The Robot’s Functions

The cockroach robot would be equipped with nano-controller, single bot computer (mini computer), wi-fi, Bluetooth device with input-output mode and other tools like motors, sensors, a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus mode and a microphone to intercept voices.

“We would equip the robot with two motors and wi-fi to help it communicate with other robots,” he said.

The team is planning to make the robot in a smaller scale as the current shape seems too bigger for a spying device. Making it in a smaller scale would create challenges because many devices within the robot have to be also minimized.

“If this robot is done, we want to equip it with face-tracking device where we could store data of faces that must be monitored, locked as targets and then could be followed by the machine. This device will position itself in corners where its presence could not be easily detected,” he said.

The team hopes that its robot could collect intelligence information easily and correctly. To meet this goal, the control and instrumentation working group is teaming up with the physiology of animal development and bio-media science in the project. “We hope this robot could be used by an intelligence body to help secure a nation. Is it possible or not? I believe it’s possible because we have taken first step to explore the ideas.”