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Robo-Roach ©Backyard Brains


by Annette Finnsdottir last modified Aug 08, 2013 07:54 PM
Race to create insect cyborgs. New interesting book: Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes published by Oneworld

The US military has been hoping to develop "micro air vehicles" – ultra-small flying robots capable of performing surveillance in dangerous territory and In 2006 the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) asked America's scientists to submit "innovative proposals to develop technology to create insect-cyborgs".

A lot of interesting research has been done in this area and the most controversial are Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo, a pair of former neuroscience postdoctoral fellows, who in 2009 established Backyard Brains, a company that sells low-cost kits that will turn any interested amateur into a neuroscientist.

Their first product was a little contraption known as the SpikerBox, a  device which lets customers observe neural firing in a cockroach in real time. The procedure is simple: just insert two needle-like electrodes into a cockroach's leg, and the SpikerBox will do the rest, amplifying the electrical activity of the insect's neurons and transmitting it to an attached computer or smartphone as that characteristic visual pattern of peaks and valleys.

For their second product, Gage and Marzullo decided to push the boundaries further, to venture beyond brain observation and into brain control. Taking inspiration from the world of cyborg animals, they created a kit that provides their customers with all the tools they need to take over the nervous system of a living cockroach.

Read more:

New interesting book about this topic:
Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes published by Oneworld

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Dabo says:
Aug 31, 2013 11:48 AM

Do you soak grains? What's your ftoirvae recipe?I shared this at Monday Mania, Hearth and Soul Hop and Simple Lives Thursday!

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