Roboroach Now Shipping!

How much would you pay for your own cyborg insect? If $99 seems reasonable, you're in luck. Backyard Brains is now ready to accept your order for a Roboroach!

(RoboRoachc from Backyard Brains)

Our Roboroach is an innovative marriage of behavioral neuroscience and neural engineering. Cockroaches use the antennas on their head to navigate the world around them. When these antennas touch a wall, the cockroach turns away from the wall. The antenna of a cockroach contains neurons that are sensitive to touch and smell.

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.

Science fiction fans know that the idea for steerable insects derives from Sparrowhawk, a 1990 science fiction novel by Dr. Thomas A. Easton.

"There's the brain, the spinal chord, the motor centers. A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain." She explained how the controller, a computer, translated movements of the tiller or control yoke and the throttle and brake pedals into electrical signals and routed them as appropriate to the jets or the genimal's motor centers, triggering the genimal's own nervous system into commanding its muscles to serve the driver. All the necessary programming was built into the hardware...
(Read more about the Roachster)

I should also point out that Philip K. Dick anticipated the general idea of the fully steerable insect in 1964 in his novel Lies, Inc.. See the reference for the housefly monitor.

Here's the scene from The Fifth Element, the 1997 film with Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, and Milla Jovovich. It's a very impressive scene, given what has been developed only a few years later.

Backyard Brains has created a number of cool kits for your use, including "Microstimulation of Neurons and Muscles", "NeuroProsthetics", "Make Your Own Homnunculus", and "Comparing Speeds of Two Nerve Fiber Sizes". Go check them out.

Via Backyard Brains. Read the full story about the creation of cyborg insects at HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/6/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Korean Lab Ready To Clone Your Dog
Man's best friend. Man's best friend. Man's best friend.

Synthetic Coral To Clean The Seas?
'Numberless capillaries arranged in a belt around the smart coral reef...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995.

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1938.

Sea Slug Feeds On Sunlight With Genes From Its Food
'You've surely noticed the green skin tone of your new body.'- John Scalzi, 2005.



Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

Harvard's Robobees Now 'Fly' Underwater
'...the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might, and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'

ADEPT Heat Shield Works For Mars
'...A synthetic which air-friction would erode away...'

Ultralight Origami Crane UAV Flexes Its Wings
'They began to flex their wings.'

UM Solar Car Now Also With IBM Research Power
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

Robot-Based Trash Collection
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk and load it in there...'

Warrior Web Exoskeleton For Soldiers Undergo Tests
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

Tesla Promises Fully Autonomous Cars By 2018
'It's been a criminal offense for at least a hundred years to drive manually on a public highway.'

Light Molecules (And Maybe Light Sabers, Someday)
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'

Telepresence In The Office
'That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely... under direct control.'

Piper, Google's 2 Billion Line Code Repository, Needs A Cool Display
'The student pointed a finger and as he did so, the line of equations marched down the wall...'

WEpod Driverless Vehicle On The Netherlands Roads
'The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering.'

Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists
'The mechanism which was the portable extension of Dr. Smile...'

Robot Evolution Needs Mass Extinction Events
'It was small, one of the baby ones.'

Lab-Grown Kidneys Implanted Successfully - In Animals
'For a while your colonists will have to come up to the Hospital to get treatment with the ramrobot symbiots...'

Korean Lab Ready To Clone Your Dog
Man's best friend, cloned.

DARPA NeuroTech Hand With Natural Sensation
'Take care, sir.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.