Have you ever wanted to control an army of cockroaches? We’ve all seen remote control cockroaches before — and they really are quite a fascinating specimen to work with — but did you know you can control one for about $30 worth of components, with a Arduino Micro?
It’s actually pretty simple. By stimulating a cockroaches antenna with variable frequencies (to mimic neural signals) you can convince the cockroach that they’ve hit a wall and should turn the other way. What results is a remote-controlled roach. How cool is that!
The setup consists of a mini backpack that contains an Arduino Micro wired into the cockroach. There is some minor surgery required, but it’s nothing that an anesthetic ice bath and some deft fingers cannot accomplish easily. And don’t worry — the cockroach can regrow his limbs and antennae. Besides, it’s for science!
While the experiment may seem a bit silly, it’s actually an excellent way to teach about neuroscience. The actual experiment is very similar to a cochlear implant, which allows a deaf person to hear sound again.
Of course, mind controlling cockroaches is nothing new, but it’s always fun to see it pop up again.