RoboRoach Kickstarter project will bring cyborg insects to the masses

Autore: ExtremeTech

RoboRoach

The guys at BackyardBrains certainly have a sense of humor. They know that their work, which focuses on reading and manipulating the brain waves of insects, can be seen as anything from cruel to frivolous. Their new Kickstarter project addresses this right out of the gate: are they putting men on Mars, or curing cancer? No, they’re just letting kids and adults drive real, live cockroaches around like remote control cars. Some people say it’s unethical to do use a living creature this way. Their response? Nah.

RoboRoach is a new Kickstarter project that aims to take the now months-old idea of a remote controlled cockroach (ancient, by today’s standards) and put it in the hands of the public. All you’ll need, they say, is their small kit, a live cockroach, and some time. The smallest investment to actually get you a kit is $ 100, though the actual retail version could vary from this somewhat. I can’t envision a future in which this does not pass its rather paltry $ 10,000 funding goal, so if you think you’ll buy one of these you probably want to jump on board now, if only for the swag that comes with it.

RoboRoach diagram

The system will work thanks to a set of small electrodes placed inside the insect’s antennae. This is the only vague part of the project, since BackyardBrains states that inserting the electrodes will require a short surgery under anesthesia — yet they don’t seem to offer this service themselves. Such delicate work would seem to require more than just an electrode plus “time,” but the team is clearly very dedicated to bringing accessible experiments to a general audience. The procedure is presumably easy enough for anyone to perform.

The electrode device has a small, attached port that sits on the roach’s back; when you wish to drive it around, you simply attach the other major component of the RoboRoach kit: a backpack unit that does all the actual sending, receiving, and interpreting of signals. Grab your roach, plug it in, and away you go.

The cockroach is controlled with an app, available for iOS and Android, which sends the backpack your simple input commands. The technology takes advantage of the fact that cockroaches use their antennae for direct physical sensing of their environment. When the backpack sends the proper signal to the antennae, the roach gets the feeling that it has just bumped into wall on the appropriate side — and so, it turns.

This is a fairly crude form of control, but it does work. The technique, called microstimulation, apparently causes no pain, and the roach can even learn to ignore it, given enough time. BackyardBrains claims that cockroaches have a known fear response which they do not display when receiving the backpack commands. No word on whether they display it during or after their surgery, however.

View the official Kickstarter video below.

Now read: Researchers create robot exoskeleton that is controlled by a moth running on a trackball

8 thoughts on “RoboRoach Kickstarter project will bring cyborg insects to the masses

  1. Vorrei trovare servizi come Kickstarter.com oppure altre idee diverse per raccogliere fondi per l’apertura di un sito web che serviranno a coprire i costi dell’hosting e a fare pubblicità.

  2. non si è piu acceso il motorino dal pulsante ho dovuto ricorrere al kickstarter impianto elettrico non da segni di vita se la batteria è scarica quanto tempo debbo tenerlo acceso per ricaricarla grazie urgente bisogno di risposta

  3. Questa domanda sembrerà assurda, ma esiste un’azienda chiamata Kickstarter che ha prodotto una console a forma di chiavetta USB, chiamata GameStick ed è in concorrenza con il Wii U, Xbox One e PlayStation 4. Posso farlo? Bisogna inserire dei file in una chiavetta semplice? 10 punti al migliore!

  4. Has Britain got an identity crisis ?
    Now that the United Kingdom’s lates population statistic are availabe ,Terry Bleather ask , “Do the British know who they are? ”

    To the rest of the world,people from the UK are British. But it’s suprising to learn that only 31 percent of people in the Uk say they are just British.In fact ,nearly half the population say their nationality is something else -English ,Scottish,Welsh ,Irish or perhaps Vietnamese ,Indian or Somali.Some people ,about 16 percent ,even say that they have two nationalites : they are British, but also Scottish or Chinese.There are hundreads of possibilities ! Are we confused ? Is it a problem?

    No,it doesn’t seem to be.Britain in changing all the time and we are not just tolerant of differences -we are proud of them. We enjoy the diversity that multiculturalism gives us.The ethnic groups that exist in the UK bring with them at least six major religions , including Christianity ,Islam ,Hinduism ,Buddhism ,Skinhism and Judaism.Each community contributes its own culture and language.Britain still has two official languages ; English and Welsh ,but we speak many more – approximately 150 in fact -from Mandarin Chinese to Urdu.Many of us are even bilingual.

    And then there’s the fun stuff that cultural diversity brings ,in music , food and the arts.The days of fish and chips are behind us,as a walk around the capital shows.Almost every district has Lebanese ,Chinese ,Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. Thousands of Londoners visit the Notthing Hill Carnival every year to dance to steel bands,reggae ,soca ,calypso and jazz.Our cinemas show films from India and South America and thousandas of people fill our pubs and clubs to listen to everything from Irish dance bands to African hip-hop. Welcome to New Britain :a confident ,tolerant country which is proud of its many cultures.
    So che è tantissimo, ma mi farebbe piacere se me la faceste! Grazie!
    PS no GOOGLE TRADUTTORE.

  5. ciao ho comprato da poco una moto enduro 125cc però avrei un problema: la moto si accende solo con la pedalina e nn ha le chiavi (prima era di un team di motocross poi l’hanno targata per uso stradale e poi l’ho comprata) e non ha neanke il bloccasterzo… visto che la uso x andare a giro e non per pista ho gia comprato il luccheto “bloccadisco” ma il problema è che la moto si può ugualmente accendere e non vorrei ke qualcuno la sciupasse… quaindi vorrei chiedervi c’è un modo x bloccare la pedalina x non far accendere la moto???

    Grazie in anticipo!!!

  6. La poesia è questa:

    “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
    A poet could not but be gay,
    In such a jocund company:
    I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

    William Wordsworth

    Grazie mille a TUTTi in anticipo! : )

  7. Sono la stessa cosa? Intendo..le differenze mi sembrano veramente minime…ma il BASIC si può considerare u. derapage visto che anni fa esisteva il derapage BASIC? Cosa ne pensate? Credete esistano differenze? ( motore uguale, estetica anche..)

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