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The Future Is Now - Cyborg Cockroaches

- Or, what you can currently do with modern neural engineering in your backyard shed.


A few weeks ago, I came across a peculiar marvel of engineering whilst trawling through the internet – or in layman’s terms, while I was mindlessly watching YouTube for want of something to do to alleviate my boredom, when suddenly I found a rather intriguing video on robot cockroaches.

Now, I know what you must be thinking. Robot cockroaches? That simply absurd. I assure you, however, that it is not. With the current standards of neural engineering: a breadboard and some wires and an electrode, you too can assemble your very own robotic cockroach, free to be commanded at your leisure.

Of course, we can’t forget about the judicious application of glue to the cockroach to bring all of its cybernetic components together. Isn’t this fun?


This is it gentlemen, the world’s most advanced cyborg: A microprocessor glued onto the back of an unwitting cockroach in some poor schmuck’s backyard attached to a bunch of electrodes and wires feeding into the cockroach’s central nervous system. Really makes you feel bad, huh?

Of course, we can’t forget the judicious application of glue to help combine all of our parts into the marvel that is the roboroach.

If you were wondering how you might go about conducting highly invasive surgery on some poor cockroach, then here’s a list of materials you will need to obtain.

Step 1: Get a cockroach. Wow. I know. It doesn’t take the sharpest crayon to realise that in order to make a cyborg roach, you actually need a cockroach to lobotomise and attach electrodes to. This sounds really wrong, even in context.

Step 2: Buy some electrodes, wires, a microprocessor (or a breadboard, if you fancy watching your poor cockroach lugging around fifty breadboards worth of wires and logic gates you sick person), and some glue.

Step 3: Conduct highly invasive and frankly quite disturbing surgery on the cockroach after anesthetizing it with cold water and ice. I’m kidding. It isn’t that disturbing. How do we conduct this horrifically invasive surgery you might ask? I’m not telling you. Did you really think I would explain in graphic detail how you might lobotomise a cockroach on a school magazine?

If you wish to learn this forbidden knowledge, seek out the dark side. That was a joke. The details can be found on the links below – which coincidentally happen to be the links I used for my research, saving me from needing to write out a bibliography. Convenient, huh?

P.S: Please don’t take what I say seriously, especially about the graphic surgery. I don’t want the secret police to show up at my house and take me away to special interrogations. Please. The surgery is actually quite tame, and completely PG to watch.

Here are the links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rp4V3Sj5jE

https://backyardbrains.com/experiments/roboRoachSurgery

https://backyardbrains.com/products/roboroach

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