RoboRoach

We talked about them back in MAKE volume 31, and we also had them at Maker Camp last year as part of our field trip to the NASA Neuroscience Lab, but now they have a Kickstarter project.

If you’ve ever wanted your own cyborg army, now might be your chance.

Our Roboroach is an innovative marriage of behavioral neuroscience and neural engineering… The backpack we invented communicates directly to the neurons via small electrical pulses. The cockroach undergoes a short surgery (under anesthesia) in which wires are placed inside the antenna. Once it recovers, a backpack is temporarily placed on its back.

When you send the command from your mobile phone, the backpack sends pulses to the antenna, which causes the neurons to fire, which causes the roach to think there is a wall on one side. The result? The roach turns!

That said, this is not a toy. However it is a great tool to learn about how our brains work, and how brains reacts to sensory stimuli. It lets you do some real neuroscience at home, which is amazing.

Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker and tinkerer, who is spending a lot of his time thinking about the Internet of Things. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.


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