Don't miss the latest stories
An App That Allows You To Control A Cockroach With Your Smartphone
By Thia Shi Min, 08 Oct 2013
To get children interested in neuroscience, Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo of Backyard Brains have come up with an interesting gadget which allows a cockroach to be controlled with your smartphone or iPad.
Launched at a TEDx talk in Detroit last week, Gage demonstrated how to conduct this experiment by using cold water to anesthetize a cockroach before amputating one of its legs.
He then plugged the cockroach's leg to an electrical circuit attached to his mobile phone and showed how sounds controlled the cockroach’s movement.
Those who purchase the “RoboRoach” will control this insect by attaching an electrical backpack to its back—the backpack will transmit signals from the iPhone to the roach’s brain, thereby allowing the user to control the tiny critter’s movements.
Although this seems to be an interesting way of studying organisms, many detractors have deemed it unethical, with bioethnicist Gregory Kaebnick comparing this experiment to using the “Imperius Curse” from the Harry Potter novels.
Yet, the founders of this project show how children can “minimize suffering” like putting Vaseline on the insect’s wounds, and retiring cockroaches to a tank where they can continue living in peace.
What do you think—is this cool or controversial?
[via Science Mag, io9 and Kickstarter]
More related news
Also check out these recent news