Wouldn’t it be cool if you could control another creature? Like, take over its body and force it to do your bidding?

Well now you can.

Full Frankenstein

US company Backyard Brains have invented an ‘electronic backpack’ that can be bolted onto a cockroach. Electrodes are inserted into the bug’s body and its antennae are cut. It’s basically Robot Wars on a microscopic level.

Subduing the roach to fit its emo backpack requires dunking the bug in icy water. While it’s stunned by the cold, sandpaper its head to remove the waxy shell. Then you’re ready to perform full open heart on the startled roach.

Once it’s been strapped into its tard suit, pick up your smartphone and use Backyard Brains’ mobile app to make the roach dance like a Russian bear. (See the video below for an example.)

Part bug, part machine

This groundbreaking, spaghetti-inducing technological feat of wonder has caused butthurt amongst Insect Rights Activists, that previously unheard of invertebrate support group.

roboroach backpack

“Cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort”

Apparently it’s cruel to play God with roaches. You know; the same roaches that millions of us burn with lighters, douse with foam and grind into the carpet with our heel.

Forcing them to do the Macarena, in comparison, seems pretty tame.

Ed Uncovered is conflicted when it comes to insects. We love praying mantis but we hate cockroaches. Well, it’s not so much that we hate them; it’s more that we have an overwhelming urge to attach electrodes to them and perform mad experiments.

Who’s with us?

Papa Roach

I’m trying to convince Ravi (EU’s #2) that we should fork out $99.99 for a Bluetooth-enabled RoboRoach (plus another $53.99 for express shipping). If we were to go ahead with this bold venture, would anyone else fancy ordering a robotic steed at the same time?

With two or more RoboRoaches in Edinburgh, we could hold – that’s right – RoboRoach Races.

Do you understand our schoolboy excitement now?

Of course, if you’re all going to throw a hissy fit and join the Insects Protection League, we’ll reluctantly abandon this project. Promise not to dox us hard however and we might be game for creating Scotland’s first RoboRoach Racing League.

For science. For studying the effect of frequency and pulse duration on activating sensory circuits in the cockroach locomotion system and the subsequent adaptation. For the lulz.




To get involved in Ed Uncovered’s RoboRoach project, @ us on Twitter or email edinburghuncoveredblog at


EU < Ed Uncovered, yo.


Moar Roach Material

(Do you see what we did there?)

Skip to 5:00 to watch the roach buggin’ out to the beat