The RoboRoach Kit Will Let You Control A Cockroach With A Smartphone

Posted Jun 24, 2013

Cockroaches are pretty disgusting insects.  If a cockroach is noticed at a restaurant or hotel, they will receive some really nasty reviews on Yelp.  Backyard Brains launched a project on Kickstarter called RoboRoach and it has about two weeks to go until it ends.

The RoboRoach Kit includes a “backpack,” a helmet, a battery, and recording electrodes.  Unfortunately, you have to anesthetize the cockroach and you need to handle placing the Kit on it.  Wires even have to be placed on the antennae of the cockroach.

When sending a command from your smartphone, the backpack sends pulses to the antenna.  This causes the cockroach’s neurons to get triggered, which makes the cockroach think that there is a wall on one side.

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Backyard Brains said that “RoboRoach is an innovative marriage of behavioral neuroscience and neural engineering.” The RoboRoach will teach you in real-time how the brain responds to stimuli. After a few minutes, the RoboRoach will stop responding to the micro-stimulation and it’s brain will adapt. You can measure the adaptation for various stimulation frequencies through this experiment.

The total weight of the RoboRoach is under 4.5g. It has a stimulation time of 5ms to 1000s. It has a use time of 12 hours per battery.

The last time that we wrote about Backyard Brains is when they put together a viral video of a squid dancing to Cypress Hill.

[Image Credit: Backyard Brains via Kickstarter]