Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Cockroach-Controlled Robot

Talk about a cool party trick. Notice how he lovingly refers to the roach as “she.”


  1. #1 phineasgage
    February 2, 2007

    Very cool. You don’t exactly get the impression that the cockroach has a clue what’s going on though.

    I suppose we will have to continue to man our taxis and trains with people, for now.

  2. #2 Shelley Batts
    February 2, 2007

    It must be some grad student project, as I can kinda tell that he’s using lights to try to guide the direction of the cockroach’s movements. If you look at the video, there is an array of lights in front of the roach which come on at different times. Doesn’t look like the roach is paying any attention whatsoever to the lights, though.

    Maybe sugar-water would work better? Ie, present some small reward….

  3. #3 Pascal Leduc
    February 3, 2007

    Ive seen it before on Daily planet, A series of distance sensors measure the distance to the closest object in different directions (one for each light), the farther the object the dimmer the light. Cockroaches naturaly go towards the area with the least light and thus avoides obstacles. This must be an earlier model, the one on the show had led screens for each sensor. The next step is to give it a robot brain that biases the lights based on predetermined trips.

    Weird science I say.

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