Are you a cockroach hater? It is time to end your fear! The world's first cyborg is now commercially available.
The RoboRoach - the world's first commercially available cyborg - is developed by a pair of University of Michigan alumni. They have built the device that can direct a live cockroach’s wanderings by sending turn signals directly to its nerves.
RoboRoach consists of three components: a cockroach with surgically implanted electrical stimulator's, a cockroach-size "backpack" that transmits these signals to a smartphone and an app that allows users to send the cockroach directional commands.
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. These neurons convey information back to the brain using electricity in the form of “spikes”.
The RoboRoach takes advantage of this natural mechanism to control the cockroach's direction. The backpack 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.
When you send the command from your mobile phone, the backpack sends pulses to the antenna, which causes the neurons to fire, which causes the roach to think there is a wall on one side. The result? The cockroach turns!
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