The newest Kickstarter project could possibly be classed as cruelty to insects but it’s also one of the more interesting uses of a smartphone app Stuff has ever seen. The RoboRoach is a project that is looking for $10,000 in order to develop prototypes for an item that combines “neuroscience, evolution and engineering.” It involves turning roaches into cyborgs. Which can then be controlled using a Bluetooth LE smartphone and an app.
What do backers get from Backyard Brains, the brains behind this weird project? They will, if they pledge $100 or more, get their very one RoboRoach kit consisting of a PCB backpack for a roach, three sets of recording electrodes (which need to be surgically implanted into the roach) and, presumably, access to the app needed to control the test subject. Pledging $250 or more to the project will see Backyard Brains also providing 12 roaches as test subjects, provided that they are shipped in the States.
The purpose of the project is to refine the RoboRoach, developing scalable stimulation and improving power management. Backyard Brains is also looking to secure large amounts of equipment (for the discount) to continue their experiments and if giving away some robotic cockroaches gets them that… well, that would be awesome. It’s only a matter of time before a backer installs a small camera on the back of their experimental roach.