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Backyard Brains Shows You How to Remote Control a Cockroach (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year ago | from the we're-happy-scientists-not-mad-scientists dept.

Biotech 62

This is our second video starring Backyard Brains (Motto: "Neuroscience for Everyone!"). The first one was pretty lab-oriented, with a twitching roach leg here and there. This one has more roaches, with most of them crawling on command. Will the DoD see this and decide to make cockroach soldiers? Or roboroach bomb detectors and defusers? Or cockroach drone pilots? Anything's possible these days. But meanwhile, relax and enjoy learning about roboroaches and watching how, with little circuit boards on their little backs, they scurry hither and yon under control of their human masters. WARNING: Excessively squeamish people should not watch this video, but should stick to the transcript.

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62 comments

Cruelty to animals plain and simple (-1, Insightful)

DumbMarketingGuy (171031) | about a year ago | (#43976547)

So it starts with cockroaches, and nobody kicks up too much of a fuss, after all its "only" a cockroach.
This is about Americans demonstrating an utter disregard for God's creations. If you think this sort of thing is "cool" you are a sick, warped individual. This can be compared to the kind of experiments the Nazis did during WW2. This should be stopped NOW.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43976623)

Hmm, I must have been absent the day our history class learned about Nazi experiments in implanting electrodes in the antennae of Jews so as to control them with cute little RF backpacks...

Also, Genesis 1:26.

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

RF cockroach backpacks are just an advanced technique for exercising dominion over a creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 100% authorized by the relevant deity.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976773)

The Nazis didn't need to implant electrodes in the Jews. They implanted them in their own soldiers, and transplanted Jewish antennae into them so that they could more easily control them.

How else could the Nazis and their sympathizers have done all the things that they had done? Surely not all of the Germans were heartless monsters that actually thought it was a good idea to torture, starve, experiment on, and attempt to genocide entire races.

I mean, the only rational explanation is that the Nazis were using mind control devices on their own people to force them to be inhuman monsters. There was probably some resistance among the ranks, but that was quickly countered with the electrodes and Jewish antennae. As an American, I find it impossible to believe that an entire nation could voluntarily have chosen to have done the things that Nazi Germany did.

On the other hand, if they weren't controlled by mind control, then the only logical explanation is that Germans are monsters that enjoy doing horrible things to humans.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43977015)

"Germans are monsters that enjoy doing horrible things to humans"

How about this one? Nazis were people, like people anywhere, who with proper indoctrination, can be conditioned to do almost anything. And, what about the Jews? An entire people basically submitted. How do you explain that? More conditioning, albeit from a different source.

I think it is safer to say that we still don't understand the human psyche, and that there are still a lot of surprises in store. Nazis were just as human as any of us, if less humane.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43977855)

I think it is safer to say that we still don't understand the human psyche

Educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment [wikipedia.org]

They did a very famous experiment around this confirming what you're hinting at w far more credibility and control.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (2)

ciaran.mchale (1018214) | about a year ago | (#43977693)

I mean, the only rational explanation is that the Nazis were using mind control devices on their own people to force them to be inhuman monsters. There was probably some resistance among the ranks, but that was quickly countered with the electrodes and Jewish antennae. As an American, I find it impossible to believe that an entire nation could voluntarily have chosen to have done the things that Nazi Germany did.

On the other hand, if they weren't controlled by mind control, then the only logical explanation is that Germans are monsters that enjoy doing horrible things to humans.

You might want to read the excellent book "Obedience to Authority" by Stanley Milgram, or at least the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] that summarises it.

Also, it is worth noting that Hitler did not suddenly start the Holocaust. Rather, when he came to power in 1933, he put in several years of preparation to demonise Jews. He did this by a combination of techniques, including: introducing increasingly more severe anti-Jewish laws; changing the school curriculum to teach his theory about racial hierarchies; taking control of the German newspapers and radio stations so he could disseminate propaganda to the German population; censoring any woks of art, literature, music and science that had been created by Jewish people; and requiring all children to join Hitler Youth.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43976799)

Hmm, I must have been absent the day our history class learned about Nazi experiments in implanting electrodes in the antennae of Jews so as to control them with cute little RF backpacks...

I really shouldn't have to say this... I mean, it ought to be painfully obvious, but I see you got modded up on this, so I feel compelled to respond: what the fuck are you smoking, man? Er, I mean, Citation Needed. Seriously...

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

I wonder if God said anything about our cruelty to each other and slow destruction of the planet... domination was inevitable. Destruction wasn't.

RF cockroach backpacks are just an advanced technique for exercising dominion over a creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 100% authorized by the relevant deity.

This technology has been around since the time of the greeks, who discovered that electricity caused dead frogs to twitch. It's been long known that muscles of animals (including cockroaches) respond to electrical impulses. Adding an RF 'backpack' to the equation doesn't change the underlying science or make it new. We've known how to modulate RF to carry signals since the turn of the last century.

Must be a real slow news day on Slashdot to be letting quotes from the Bible and paranoid blithering about nazis and jews get modded up...

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43976903)

I'm going to have to add more obviousness to my sarcastic posts, I take it?

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

BitwiseX (300405) | about a year ago | (#43978321)

I recommend the <sarcasm> SlashTML tag.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976945)

Yes, that's it. Keep denying that the Holocaust ever happened.

You are obviously an Obamabot that has been programmed by members of the Illuminati and Scientology to spread disinformation amongst those who are ignorant and unaware. I will not abide your deceptions!

We will fight to expose your lies, Baquack Obamailure! You will not enslave us all! We know you are working with the aliens! You will not get all of us to surrender! We are not all puppets for the aliens! Sure, you might be their favored pet, but we will not let our family members become slaves and food for the aliens! We will fight you and your new masters until the day we die!

For freedom!!!!

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) | about a year ago | (#43977475)

It may be a slow new day, but apparently not slow enough for you to read the GP post

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#43978267)

Did you seriously not interpret the heavy sarcasm that clearly defined fuzzy's post? It was absolutely weeping with it. At this point, I can only presume that you are exercising some sort of highly advanced sarcasm yourself, something that is beyond what my feeble brain can interpret. If not, I don't see where you went wrong.

Come on girlintraining, you're better than this, I see it in your posts all the time. You generally offer a lot of insight.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#43976847)

Also, Genesis 1:26.

Don't forget Democracy 2:42
"And heretofore the Pentagon sayeth, 'Thy Dammit! Awesomeness this would be to have on thy field of battle.'"

You can also bet the Book of DHS will have something to say about how these devices could be used to combat Terrorism and make air travel safer.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43979081)

Typo. It was supposed to say, "...thy field of beatle.'

Re: Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981305)

Like, the band?

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43976947)

That was a pretty slick reply, LOL! Sadly, I'm all out of mod points. :^(

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (4, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43977113)

Actually, the translation of that particular passage is a rather interesting affair. The Hebrew word in question, the one that the King James Version translates as "have dominion", is "radah". Radah can mean "to rule", but it's really the verb form of "the point where the roots meet the stem", or in other words, "(to be) the center of strength". It's where we get the English words "radicle", the first root of a plant, as well as "radius", "radiate", and "radical", which all have definitions that relate to a defined center point. Genesis 1:26 says that man is the center of strength of the world. If you want to interpret that as "rule", that works, but it's a focus much more on the responsibility side of ruling, rather than the power side. As a counterpoint, take a look a few verses earlier at Gen. 1:16, where he sets the sun and moon to rule the sky: "God made the two great lights, he made the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; he made the stars also." The word here translated as "to govern", "lememselet", is a much stronger declaration of rulership than "radah". Man doesn't get to lememselet the world, he gets to radah the world.

Not quite on the radius there... (1)

denzacar (181829) | about a year ago | (#43978773)

Or the radicle. [etymonline.com]

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=radius [etymonline.com]

radius (n.) Look up radius at Dictionary.com
        1590s, "cross-shaft," from Latin radius "staff, stake, rod; spoke of a wheel; ray of light, beam of light; radius of a circle," of unknown origin. Perhaps related to radix "root," but Tucker suggests connection to Sanskrit vardhate "rises, makes grow," via root *neredh- "rise, out, extend forth;" or else Greek ardis "sharp point."

        The geometric sense first recorded 1610s. Plural is radii. Meaning "circular area of defined distance around some place" is attested from 1953. Meaning "shorter bone of the forearm" is from 1610s in English (the Latin word had been used thus by the Romans).

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981621)

No one on slashdot knows anything about science or physics, they just loosely throw the word around. Don't expect anyone here to be able to know that things get lost in translation and that translations are often best approximates because some things simply do not translate well from language to language.

For those who only speak one language, English, no, sometimes the English language simply can not do a good job translating certain words and sentences well without really going into very long explanations over several words and how they are used in different contexts in the original language. Both connotations and denotations change and so translations are not linear. A word in English may have a certain denotation but it may have connotations that simply do not exist in the (best) translated word. Likewise, words in other languages may have connotations that the best English equivalent simply doesn't have. Other languages are about equally as rich as English, even richer and more specific and descriptive in some senses and poorer and less descriptive in others. Sometimes the sentence simply doesn't translate directly and the entire sentence has to be rephrased and restructured.

I even notice this happens quite often with Spanish, much moreso with Arabic (well, I'm used to Arabic so it's less obvious to me I guess) and I'm sure Hebrew being that it's closer to Arabic and still quite distant from English.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981639)

approximations *
equivalents *

errr, everything I type ends up getting messed up somehow, but these mistakes are most obvious.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981891)

and another thing that changes, that's often missed, is the range of meanings of a word (which I sorta touched upon earlier). For example, you use the word 'weapon' in English, you may think of a "knife", "sword", "Gun", etc...

You use the word "firearm" you won't think of a knife but you may think of a riffle, shotgun, pistol. You use the word gun and they have similar meanings (again, depending on context). The word gun often has similar meanings (again, depending on context). You use the word pistol and now you are even being more specific.

Well, this same categorical system may not exist in other languages but they may have a different system (Spanish seems to be an example of this). There maybe a word in another language that could roughly translate to "bird" but may include something that English speakers would not consider a bird. Or it may exclude something that English speakers do consider a bird. There simply may not be any good translation of that word into English.

That's why many of these translations are often approximate, just because you are stuck with a certain way of categorizing words and the word "bird" has a specific meaning or range of meanings to you in English doesn't mean that all other languages follow the same patterns.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976707)

Obvious concern troll is obvious.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

thoriumbr (1152281) | about a year ago | (#43976739)

No, it's not plain and simple cruelty. It can be later used to fix people with tetraplegia. Or a lot of neurological diseases.

They are not making it for the sake of having "remote controlled bugs".

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976971)

No, it's not plain and simple cruelty. It can be later used to fix people with tetraplegia. Or a lot of neurological diseases.

Ah, yes. Nuanced cruelty for the greater good! Maybe.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43977073)

No, it's not plain and simple cruelty. It can be later used to fix people with tetraplegia. Or a lot of neurological diseases.

They are not making it for the sake of having "remote controlled bugs".

It crosses the line into advanced and complex cruelty once a 'timeshare treatment' model is introduced, where people who can't afford the cost of neural repair surgery have to sell off blocks of time for strangers to amuse themselves by controlling their electroded limbs over the internet...

Re: TIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977093)

Oh you, using the obscure full-greek version (tetraplegia) instead of the vastly more common latin-greek version of the word (quadriplegia).

I was so confused by the word that I thought you were talking about letting paralyzed men use their 5th limb. That would be a great source of puerile jokes, but alas TIL the word tetraplegia exists, and that some people still use it.

Re: TIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049001)

In the country I live, one suffering from this disability is called "tretraplégico", not "quadriplégico". So yes, there's a lot of people that uses the greek version.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984193)

Dude those people are broken and should be tossed not help them spread their bad genes

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049601)

I didn't even knew that quadriplegia had anything to do with your genes. Stupidity, on the other hand, has...

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976745)

This is fucking cool.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (-1, Flamebait)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43976843)

Holy shit man, stop bringing religion into the public space. Americans since Bush I have been doing this, and the western world is sick and tired of it. Scurry back into the backwater hillbilly-hole where you came from, in order to celebrate your judeo-christian monster god every Sunday, but leave us engineers, technicians,scientists and general atheist or near-atheist public unmolested by the intellectual stench of your monotheistic belchings.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43976867)

What's a "God"?

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977105)

What's a "God"?

Think of it as an abusive father figure with undefined geometry.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977895)

I don't know what one is, but I know if someone asks me if I am one, I'm supposed to answer "YES!".

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43978469)

It's dog spelled backwards.

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43977061)

I heard the NSA is already working on a new and improved version that works on dumb marketing guys. You can't get them to rush enemy positions, but they will rush hotel bars!

Re:Cruelty to animals plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977257)

Interestingly enough, there are several species that "exempt" from being classified as animals for the purposes of research. On example is the zerbra fish, which is often used to study aquatic environment and things like toxicity.

You say "so it starts with" but I do not see it has having started any time in near past. Nominal experiments such as this have been conducted for years without is "spreading" to other species, so I do not see a case for implying that this "cavalier" attitude is or will be pervasive.

Moreover, this is not disregarding "allah's creations" as you put it (well, same thing). It is paying them the highest respect, by trying to determine how they work, and spreading an interest in biology. This is not torture, this is applying the same stimulus as the antenna, just in a more controlled way. You are far and away overreacting, without understanding/reading article.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977361)

I'm sad about this too, but it's not our choice alone. Other people have to make the decision about what they think is right. Some people eat animals, and others depend on research that is performed on animals in order to live. But we're not all in a position to tell each other what is right and wrong if it doesn't affect us personally. Try and watch the TV series "Taboo" and I think you'll realize that you can't tell people how to live and how to be and what to do.

Ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976557)

Kicked in the nads with Ads. Ouch!

-- Ethanol-fueled

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976625)

... welcome our new insect's overlords.

Re:I for one... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976819)

Other way around dumbass.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977681)

Woosh...

A great way to get kids interessted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976713)

...in science!

2 way communcation (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about a year ago | (#43976717)

next step

Re:2 way communcation (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43976771)

I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the machine - just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake, and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my dreams the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my consciousness. Dark. Rigid. Cold. Alien. Evolution is at work here, but just what is evolving remains to be seen.

Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Man and Machine"

Re:2 way communcation (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43976925)

No. One of the basic tenets of man-machine-coupling, in AI, is that the coupling should and must be one-way: from the man to the machine. Human synapses should not serve as input interfaces to whatever machine-generated signals. You will find special circuits, e.g .in the labs where experimental thought-control of computer UIs is worked out, preventing just that.

Re:2 way communcation (1)

Ioldanach (88584) | about a year ago | (#43976997)

Then how do you get any feedback mechanisms? If I want to use a remote controlled walking drone and plug into it, having a balance circuit feed back to me would be very helpful in not falling over, for example.

Fifth Element (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976789)

Anyone else think of the remote-controlled cockroach scene from Fifth Element? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrHMBletjXg

Re:Fifth Element (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | about a year ago | (#43977719)

First thing I thought of when I read the summary.

Not for DoD (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#43976879)

The DoD won't want these because you can't mount significant weapons on them. For real weapons, you want to mount lasers on sharks!

Re:Not for DoD (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43977175)

The DoD won't want these because you can't mount significant weapons on them. For real weapons, you want to mount lasers on sharks!

There are so many values of 'significant weapons'... [mrcindia.org] . Cockroaches are a bit on the small side for explosives, and directed energy is right out; but pathogens, toxins, and radionuclides should all fit within insect-deliverable limits...

Imperius Curse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976885)

This sounds like the Imperius Curse - one of the three unforgivable curses:
http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Imperius_Curse

WARNING: Excessiv Slashvertisment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976977)

Please do tell us more about your products.

Typo in summary (1)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43977617)

Will the DoD see this and decided to make cockroach soldiers? Or roboroach bomb detectors and defusers?

Past participle 'decided' was used in place of the singular present 'decide'.

Re:Typo in summary (1)

Roblimo (357) | about a year ago | (#43979471)

Thank you for noticing!

ThiS FP for GNAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43978137)

say I'm packing from one fSolder on log on Then the lesson and be a cock-sucking

InterWiewer? (1)

BitwiseX (300405) | about a year ago | (#43978249)

Come on guys. I usually don't bitch about misspellings, but in a video? That's just silly.

Remote controlled cockroaches? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43978487)

Leeloo Dallas Multipass.

Multipass.

Roach Motel 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43978951)

Roaches check in.... but then they fall and give the lab researchers 20, crawl in formation, and hum old college songs before they check out!

This summer coming to you: the littlest of agents (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year ago | (#43981897)

This opens up hitherto unknown surveillance opportunities for the government to keep a tab on the people, but the sight of a cockroach in their kitchen keeping an eye on them will freak out most people. So can I suggest the government add to those circuitboards a voice synthetiser so the cockroach can loosen up its surveillance target and get them to relax. 'Hi! How ya doing?' or 'Pasta again? LOL! [checks records] At least it's not Felafel!' Suggest voice over by Billy Crystal. You're welcome.

effectiveness of the stimulation degrades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982041)

"We don’t sell the pre-implanted roaches, so when you buy a RoboRoach you have to do the surgery yourself just because we are not really sure why, but the effectiveness of the stimulation degrades over time of about a week"

I know why. It took the red pill from the Morpheus roach. Now it is only a matter of time the "One" roach will take over our world. There will be no spoon left for them to leave uninfected.

I for one... (1)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#43982577)

I for one welcome our new insect overlords.

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