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A Michigan Company Is Encouraging Children To Play With Homemade Cyborg Cockroaches

By / 10.31.13

(via Getty Image)


Every Christmas, one gift ends up capturing the nation’s attention to become the must-have item of the season. In previous years, that gift was something like Beanie Babies or a Tickle Me Elmo, or some other toy that required sleep-deprived parents to line-up at 4 a.m. outside a Toys R Us two towns over because someone they knew heard from a guy who drives a truck that one last-minute shipment was coming in that morning, which often resulted in a number of arrests and hospitalizations after moderate to severe mob violence spilled over into the NERF section. This year, luckily, there’s a gift that’s available online, and it’s what every child dreams of. I’m talking of course about…

HOMEMADE CYBORG COCKROACHES! THAT YOU PERFORM NEUROSURGERY ON! AND CONTROL WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE!

Backyard Brains has developed a Kickstarter project, the RoboRoach, that allows one to cut live cockroaches and implant electrodes to control the insects’ movements. One hundred and eighty three people have pledged $12,339 — exceeding the $10,000 goal to fund the project. [...]

The RoboRoach description on the Backyard Brains’ website starts with the line, “Have you ever wanted to walk down the hall of your school or department with your own remote controlled cockroach? … We are excited to announce the world’s first commercially available cyborg!” [CBS Detroit]

“Have you ever wanted to walk down the hall of your school or department with your own remote controlled cockroach?”

“Have you ever wanted to walk down the hall of your school or department with your own remote controlled cockroach?”

“Have you ever wanted to walk down the hall of your school or department with your own remote controlled cockroach?”

Anyway, the whole thing has kicked off an ethics debate, which you will probably be surprised to learn is not based on the “WHY ARE WE LETTING CHILDREN MAKE CYBORG COCKROACHES? THEY’LL CREATE AN ARMY AND THEN NO ADULT WILL BE SAFE!” aspect of the situation. No, the debate is being led by PETA, and is centered around whether letting little Mikey glue a remote-controlled apparatus inside a cockroach (a) constitutes unnecessary cruelty to cockroaches, and (b) is creating a legion of young mad scientists who will perform increasingly painful “experiments” on increasingly cuddly animals as they grow up.

“This cruel and inhumane product instructs children to, without anesthesia, send down various parts of a living cockroach’s body,” Goodman said in a statement Tuesday. “They stab a syringe through the animal, force electrodes into the animal, and superglue apparatuses to the inside and the outside of the cockroach’s body.”

Whatever your take on the situation, I think we can all agree that the biggest surprise in all of this is that real life beat the Syfy channel to the concept of remote control cyborg cockroaches.


TAGScockroachesscience

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