A mobile phone-controlled cockroach backpack app controls insect movements, called Roboroach, has sparked controversy. The company that markets the bionic device says it teaches kids about neuroscience. But other agencies have accused the firm of animal cruelty.
The Backyard Brains Company is in deep trouble. After it came up with its $99 cockroach app, charges of animal cruelty were leveled at it from various quarters. The device which attaches a circuit on the back of a cockroach, and integrates the electronic and neurological functions of each respectively, is something straight out of a Frankenstein movie.
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The cockroach has the waxy exterior on its head sandpapered. Then the circuit is attached to its interior via a hole made in its thorax. Finally, its antennae are cut. By means of a mobile phone this roach robot can be manipulated to move in myriad directions. After some time though it has to be allowed to cool down before it can be ordered about electronically.
Animal scientists have labeled the practice as inhumane. The company has received emails saying that this toy teaches children to be sociopaths. There is scientific evidence that these actions cause extensive harm to the insects. The company has other thoughts on its mind.
Spokespersons for Backyard Brains say that diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders are rife in society. The Roboroach will serve as an experimental device for students and will help them in their graduate studies. To better understand neuroscience in order to cure debilitating ailments is the goal. And here the ends justify all means. The controversy rages on as neither side is willing to back off from their fixed stances.