RoboRoach, the first cyborg animal to be marketed

RoboRoachWill probably not be the star of this year-end gift, however the RoboRoach has just been launched on the market. After a modest but successful fundraising on Kickstarter campaign, the cockroach robot and guided by smartphone is accessible to all that found the cockroach. A cyborg animal on sale for $99, a first.
Of limited interest from a scientific point of view, kit is mainly aimed at education to high school students. Each judge the ethics of such transaction.

A DIY kit for neurosciences

RoboRoach_iPodLe fonctionnement du kit cyborg commercialisé par Backyard Brains is quite simple. An electronic card placed on the back of the subject has a bluetooth chip. On the basis of orders sent via the mobile application, electrical signals are sent to the 3 electrodes placed on the animal. It require the animal to move forward, to turn left or right.

The operation is not without inconvenience to the subject since it is necessary to cut the antennas in order to attach the electrodes that by electric shocks, control the animal to turn left or right. The kit instruction indicates to dive the cockroach in a glass filled with ice to anesthetize the subject before operating. No doubt welcome anesthesia because, also lose its antennas, it will see its exoskeleton drilled a hole to slip a third electrode on a dorsal muscle… The League for the protection of the cockroaches will appreciate.

Startup created by former students of the University of Michigan, Backyard Brains offers an impressive catalog of equipment that allow to create various experiments on this theme of neurostimulation. Cockroaches, earthworms, grasshoppers, but also experiments on cells blood and same devices of electrical stimulation of the muscles of the arm between two people, the little shop of Dr. Frankenstein begins to take life.


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