Sunday, November 10, 2013

Roboroach: the first commercial cyborg

There is a big row going on over a US company's new smartphone app "Roboroach backpack".
The US company Backyard Brains has developed an "Electronic Backpack" called Roboroach that fits on to cockroach allowing its movements to be controlled by a smartphone app. The Backyard Brains company says that the device is intended to get children to be interested in neuroscience.

For the "electronic backpack" to work the cockroaches have to be placed in icy water to subdue them

before sandpaper is used to remove the waxy coating on the shell of the insect's head. An electrode connector and electrodes are then glued on to the insect's body and a needle is used to poke a hole in their thorax in order to insert a wire.Their antennae are then cut and electrodes are inserted. A circuit is attached to their backs, and signals are received through a mobile phone app allowing users to control the cockroaches' movements to the left and to the right. 

There is lot of criticism going on about this, Everybody’s favorite protest group, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is at it again—this time in defense of cockroaches. Specifically, PETA wants to stop the sale of the Backyard Brains’ RoboRoach, a science education kit that enables kids to implant electrodes into a cockroach’s brain and then control the beetle with a smartphone app.
Some say "electronic backpack" is cruel and subjects the insects to unnecessary stress. some say , Modifying a living creature to make a toy is wrong. they even say, This enables and encourages kids to harm animals.

I personally feel its not time to criticize, its time to celebrate and appreciate the innovation. I mean come on  these are the roaches people easily kill in their apartments and its not like these animals are in any harms way as Backyard Brains contends that the experiments have no lasting effect on the bugs and that dipping them in ice water anesthetizes them from pain. Personally, I think RoboRoach is a really interesting way to get people interested in science, which we need to do more of at all costs.

I don't care if you think I'm insane and cruel to think and support this idea but imagine how cool it is to play soccer with remote controlled cockroach team or I can even create cockroach army. I guess time of playing with video games is over, I can train my cockroach in soccer that he will defeat the likes of Messi and Ronaldo :P

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Blog Directory Roboroach, Gesture recognition, iphone app, cyborg cockroach


Sk├╣TTz said...

I am always open to the idea of innovation in science but we should not forget our ethics and take a decision without thinking of all the impacts thus could have as stated by the critics, this could cause a negative impact too within the children's minds.if the main purpose of such an idea is to educate children about neurology,i think it could have been done in a better way than this. I do realize your point that such tiny creatures are killed daily...but that is no justification to use technology to control a living thing as a toy...the basic mistake we make is not pertaining to the morality. I do also understand that every invention has its falls, but personally i believe this would cause a negative impact on the kids, though not all some. The idea was good but the way it was applied was terrible.

Nilesh Goswami said...

u basically summed it all up.
even though it sounds terrible I will always prefer experimentation on pest cockroaches than human or mouse