I looove DIY projects, and this one’s a doozy. Techli’s got the inside scoop on a Chicago science-artist’s system for not only creating remote-controlled cockroaches, but using a Twitter feed to control it:
[Brittany] Ransom set up the twitter account @TweetRoach and designated the hashtags #TweetRoachRight to coax the cockroach to turn right and #TweetRoachLeft to coax the cockroach to turn left. Ransom only allows the hashtag to be active for a short window of time, and the signal is only transmitted every thirty seconds to that the cockroach is not overstimulated. TweetRoach has 240 followers, and was last active on December 16th.
Each RoboRoach kit contains an assembled RoboRoach circuit, a remote control, three batteries, three electrode sets (so that you can to implant three roaches), and one breakout cable to test neural responses from the antenna.
You must supply your own cockroaches, and you have to implant the electrode sets into the insects. Yep, you have to perform insect surgery. The Backyard Brain website offers a 13 minute YouTube video documenting the surgery.
Here’s Brittany Ransom’s explanation for what she’s doing. Well, OK, it’s a couple of photos with the promise for more coming soon, but what more do you really need to know?
And here’s the RoboRoach kit so you can start your own experiments.
Found via [reddit].