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Science & Technology

Are cyborg cockroaches unethical ?

By T.K. Randall
October 12, 2013 · Comment icon 23 comments

The kits enable the insects to be controlled by a human operator. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Ben Lipkowitz
Neuroscientists have come under fire over the ethics of their new remote control cockroach kits.
Co-founders Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo of "Backyard Brains" raised eyebrows at a TEDx talk recently when they showcased a new piece of kit that could be implanted in to cockroaches to allow an operator to control their movement through an iPhone.

The remarkable demonstration has since been followed up by the announcement that do-it-yourself cyborg cockroach kits will soon be made available for anyone to purchase for just $99. Each kit will contain a live cockroach and the necessary hardware and surgical tools needed to create your own remote-control insect.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is too keen on the idea.

"I try not to downplay the fact that in science we use animal models and a lot of times they are killed," said Gage. "As scientists, we do this all the time, but it happens behind closed doors."

In his defense of the project he emphasized that incorporating the mechanism in to a live cockroach would help teach students to care for the insects. He also pointed out that none of the roaches used in the demonstration experiments were killed but had instead been sent to a "retirement" tank to live out the rest of their days in peace.

Source: Wired | Comments (23)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Twin 11 years ago
I don't have a problem with killing a whole colony of roaches living uninvited in my house. But I find killing or mutilating them for entertainment unethical.
Comment icon #15 Posted by mesuma 11 years ago
Maybe you could Peid piper there horrible asses right out the house.
Comment icon #16 Posted by pallidin 11 years ago
Cockroaches. I once lived in a house in Florida infested by those nasty creatures. And stayed in a few "roach motels" I don't mean this sarcastically, truely, but I wonder if they have any true value in the insect kingdom(or whatever it's called) Now bumble bee's, for example, I will do my best to not harm, but roaches are a different story for me. Maybe not for other's, that's fine. In any event, my opinion is that I see nothing wrong with "cyborging" a cockroach. Again, just my opinion.
Comment icon #17 Posted by AliveInDeath7 11 years ago
I think it would be cool... I wouldn't go in houses, I'd want to explore underground and just see the world through the insect's eyes.
Comment icon #18 Posted by bassai26 11 years ago
a new found way of voyeurism...
Comment icon #19 Posted by Emeraldgemheart 11 years ago
This is.. ugh.. just... EW. I hate roaches....
Comment icon #20 Posted by Chooky88 11 years ago
I remember a 90s computer game Bad-Mojo where I was a roach.
Comment icon #21 Posted by jugoso 11 years ago
Love or loathe the roach you have to respect them,they've adapted to every environmental change and been around much longer than we ..... Totally agree. I have a lot of respect for cockroaches. They will be around a lot longer after we are gone too!
Comment icon #22 Posted by sockitboy 11 years ago
howabout rigging up aa cyborg Keith Richards instead
Comment icon #23 Posted by LimeGelatin 11 years ago
I thought the "invention" of real cockroaches was unethical...- LoLzzz


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