Re: RC Bugs

Patrick Wilken (
Fri, 9 May 1997 12:29:03 +1000

>I heard something exciting on the radio: some Japanese scientists
>apparently have
>elaborated a neural interface to cockroaches' brains. They plan on using the
>(remote-controlled?) bugs to inspect places where humans can't go.
>Does someone have any more information on this particular case or on
>neural interfaces
>in general?

This appeared on the Fringeware mailing list a few months ago:

Keywords: credistance george purplementations lexisterday focusinest costner
Subject: BUG - Cyborg Roaches a Reality
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 20:09:43 -0500
From: FringeWare News Network <email@Fringeware.COM>

Sent from: Abrupt <>

I am not making this up. An article entitled "Robo-Roach Goes On the Prowl"
appeared in the Jan 13 edition of the Louisville, KY Courier Journal. It
was written by Eric Talmadge of the Associated Press and described a cyborg
roach created by the bio-robot team at Tokyo University. The roach was
"surgically implanted with a micro-robotic backpack that allows researchers
to CONTROL ITS MOVEMENTS" (emphasis mine, naturally). There is even a PHOTO
of this cyborg roach. In order to create this thing, the bio-robot
scientists gas a regular American roach (Perplaneta americana) with carbon
dioxide, then remove its wings and antennae. Pulse-emitting electrodes are
then implanted in place of the antennae, and the robot backpack is placed
where the wings used to be. When the roach awakens from this micro-surgery,
the researchers can send signals to the backpack, stimulating the
electrodes which in turn guide the roach's movements. The backpacks only
weigh one-tenth of an ounce, but cockroaches can carry up to 20 times their
own weight -- about one-twentieth of an ounce. The researchers noted that a
backpack-fitted roach can survive for several months but that it also
becomes less sensitive to the electrode-induced commands -- a potential
problem for lengthy "missions."

Now imagine modern microsurveillance technology combined with this cyborg
roach technology. Now be afraid. Can we safely bet that cyborg animals will
be far away, now that cyborg roaches have been created? What about cyborg

Just some thoughts to ponder.

best, patrick

Patrick Wilken
Editor: PSYCHE: An International Journal of Research on Consciousness
Secretary: The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness