In a prime example of trickle-down cyborg robotics, the remote-controlled rhinoceros beetle created (modified, really) by DARPA may soon be available in a DIY kit, using cockroaches instead of giant beetles. It could help you realize your dream of turning your cockroach friends into remote-controlled errand-roaches.
The kit is made from parts from a HEXBug robot, a little spidery toy 'bot, plus a few low-power chips that deliver electrical stimulation to a cockroach's antennae nerves. Though the end product basically looks like a cockroach wearing a backpack made of the inside of an alarm clock, it really does work, granting bi-directional control. Apparently the only issues left to solve are the logistical problem of getting the gear to stay on the cockroach, and the reliability rate. BackyardBrains, the creators of the project, says only about 25% of cockroaches can effectively be controlled through this method, but they remain optimistic that that number can be improved.
Check out a video of the cyborg-roach in action--it might not be as polished as a flying beetle or some of the other scientist-modded animals we've covered, but for a DIY project, it's pretty disturbing/impressive.
This is just cruel
One day - Cockroaches will have a video on YouTube showing how humans can be controlled in a similar manor.
I know they're just roaches, but that seems awfully unethical. For the military to do it is one thing (assuming their intent to do whatever is needed to protect the nation), but just anybody doing it for sh**s and giggles is an abuse of human intellect.
it looks as though we now know what the weight limit of cockroaches.
SPCA is not going to be happy about this
Resistance is futile. Comply!
Using insects and animals to further medical research or defence capabilities is one thing, but for amusement or DIY is really cruel.
Just the thing for your 3rd grader's 'Show and Tele'.
You are saying this is cruel to animals, but wait until in a couple of decades when some people get all excited because they upgraded this software and unit to control a human. THEN we can run around screaming.
what a bunch of wimps, so killing every last one you find in your house along with everything else considered a pest is not cruel, you all need a reality check
the primary difference in killing a household pest and controlling one is that anyone who is amused by watching things die could make a cockroach walk itself to death, and that this probably works by shocking the cockroaches antennas to make it turn. admittedly its hard to argue for cockroach rights but it is generally unethical to "mod" anything living in such a drastic way, even if this one in particular could be removed.
@brublr wow, "Show and Tele"? Don't you mean Show and Tell? Maybe you should go back to 3rd grade yourself.
@drchuck1 THANK YOU, I'm shocked at all the "omg cruel" comments. Get with it people, do you understand how amazingly painful it must be to slowly dryout from the insides out due to the poision we use to kill these things? How about when you stomp on one and don't kill it, then it runs off with broken parts.
Who really cares? It's a bug. Would you stop cutting your lawn when you realize that plants have basic pain receptors? How about all the bugs you chop to bits as well? Would you stop sleeping when you find out that you eat around 5-10 bugs a year? Well you do, everyone eats a few bugs/spiders in their sleep, everyone.
Anyone ever have a goldfish that didn't make it? but that wasn't cruel right... mess with an ants hill? Step on some ants, we **ALL** have stepped on some bugs, it happens everyday and you wouldn't think twice about it.
But you see some experimentation going on and all of a sudden here comes the high and mighty "I'm so much better than everyone else" bs. Get off your high horse, besides riding horses is cruel.
The hypocrisy is mind numbing.
And yes, plants *DO* have sensations, this is how they can feel the sun, move with the sun, open and close flowers with the day/night, and even move when touched. (check out the Mimosa pudica, it moves and closes when touched or shaken or when a flame gets too close)
So how many plants had to die for your salad?
If this was done to anything more complex than an arthropod, I'd complain, but cyborgizing beetles isn't that bad. Doing this to a mammal? Bad. Doing this to a pest of an insect, no problem with me.
Of course, this is also coming from a guy that wanted a spider encased in acrylic as a kid so he tried to make one out of a living brown recluse from his basement and hot glue...
Kids and their logic... Did it work? Did you get bit?
In asia, they use those rhinoceros beetles for fighting and bet on the outcome. Cybering these critters could make this sport quite interesting.
@ codezero um,it's a pun - as in telephone, television, telegraph; i.e. from the Greek - têle far, akin to télos. Cockroaches guided by remote. Tele ~ tell. Ain't we got fun, huh? Hope it gives you a chuckle, good timer. Whatever.
I made an account just so I could comment on this. I have a pet deaths head cockroach, and I could never imagine cutting his antennae off to put a controlling unit on his head. That is unnecessarily cruel. He's a fine insect as he is, and believe it or not roaches can actually come to tell the difference between its owner and other people. Also, there wasn't one useful reason for doing this listed in this article. Other than a pathetic version of a radio controlled toy, this is not worth it.
aren't you getting tired of being proven wrong yet? you're always coming on here yelling at someone for some kind of grammatical/typing error just to be proven wrong every time.
also- plants respond to stimuli. the mimosa pudica doesn't close when it't touched because it thinks "oh, someone just touched me i better close up". no, it't just a stimulus, not pain nor thought. so give that one up.
also (again)- the "we eat bugs when we sleep all the time" statement was just a story that a group of kids started to spread a while back to see how many people would belive them. while its possible that you might swallow a FEW bugs in your lifetime, THEY crawl into YOU. that's a whole lot different then you going out and manipulating them.
so, will you just stop posting until you have something constructive to say? that would make my time on popsci much more enjoyable. thank you
@everyone else-cruel, yes. cool, yup.