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RoboRoach: How to control a cockroach with your smartphone

'The world's first commercially available cyborg,' the RoboRoach is a cockroach fitted with a backpack that lets smartphone users control its movements.

RoboRoach Gen4
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This is a roach with a higher calling: You.

Billed as the “world's first commercially available cyborg,” the RoboRoach debuted Monday on a Kickstarter page looking to raise $10,000 for the project by next month.

The project of Backyard Brains, a startup company of scientists and engineers headed by neuroscientists Greg Gage, the RoboRoach allows smartphone users to control a cockroach’s movements with a downloadable app. Yes, there’s an app for that.

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Cockroaches use antennas packed with neurons to navigate their world, the campaign page explains. For example, when those antennas touch a wall, the neurons fire to the brain and instruct the roach to turn left or right, rather than pressing on in a hopeless show of resistance to human engineering.


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