Do you or your phone want to be a part of the world’s first commercial cyborg? Lucky you because RoboRoach is coming via Kickstarter to a mobile device near you. Pledge $100 or more and you’ll get a miniature communications backpack to attach to a cockroach of your choice. An additional $50 will get you a small cockroach colony, but you can catch your own roaches for free!
Designed by neroscientists and engineers at Backyard Brains in Ann Arbor, MI the tiny “backpack” in the RoboRoach Kit communicates directly with the cockroach’s neurons in their antennas to give you control of their movements. These electronic backpacks connects wirelessly to a mobile app that lets you control the movements of your cyborg. Just swipe to the right and your cyborg will move in that direction. Resistance is futile.
Ironically, the app is not available for Android devices.
If you are concerned about the health and safety of insects, this brain control evidently does little harm to the cockroach:
We send small amounts of current to the neurons. This method is called microstimulation, and is used to make nearby neurons fire action potentials or “spikes”. This is not an electric shock, nor does it cause pain. We can verify this by the fact that the cockroach can adapt to the micro stimulation in a few minutes, and ignore it completely, something that cannot be done with painful stimuli. Cockroaches also have a fear response, which we fail to see with using the cockroach.