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Backyard Brains The RoboRoach

Own the world’s first commercially available cyborg with the RoboRoach!

  • Control a half cockroach, half cyborg with your iPhone or Android!
  • No neuroscience experience necessary
  • Experience in real time how the brain responds to stimuli
  • Discover the brain’s complexities in learning and adaptation--and how habituation changes it all (or not!)
Backyard Brains Released “The RoboRoach,” hailing it as the world’s first commercially available cyborg. This DIY neuroscience kit allows students and science lovers to remotely control a living cockroach with their iPhone or Android mobile device. By swiping left or right, users can guide a cockroach’s movement.

Backyard Brains is a leading biotechnology startup dedicated to providing affordable educational tools to help make neuroscience experiments more accessible. Previously, only university students and professionals could gain access to the complex and expensive equipment required to perform neuroscience experiments on living brain cells. Now everyone can gain access to devices which allow them to become DIY neuroscientists. The RoboRoach, made popular by its viral KickStarter, is one of the most popular and robust tools to learn the intricacies of neuroscience and respect for invertebrate sciences in a fun, ethical, hands-on way.

Following either the video guide or illustrated experimental write up on the Backyard Brains website, users will first glue a small electrode to a cockroach’s exoskeleton before attaching the electrode wires to the cockroach’s antennae. The RoboRoach backpack plugs into the electrode and connects via bluetooth to your mobile device. Anyone with the App can then connect and send microstimulation to the cockroach’s attenae, tricking it into thinking it is bumping up against obstacles, and thus causing it to turn away!

Backyard Brains explains that this experiment is designed to be both a demonstration and a learning opportunity. The experiment is an example of how your neurons respond to stimulation, what kind of stimulation they respond to, and how the brain adapts to repeated, unimportant stimuli. In fact, part of The RoboRoach experiment was developed by high-schoolers who were interested in learning about whether repeated or random stimulation settings would cause quicker habituation times.

Speaking to the success of The RoboRoach, CEO and Co-Founder Greg Gage explains, “Whenever I demonstrate The RoboRoach, people are blown away. I remember one classroom full of middle schoolers, I was giving my talk and there was one kid in back sitting there, uninterested, arms crossed, too cool for school. Then I broke out The RoboRoach. He leaned in while I was explaining it, then when I started controlling the cockroach with another student’s phone, he leapt up out of his seat to get a closer look. His face lit up and he started asking questions about neuroscience. That’s why we do what we do. To inspire people and to give them the tools they need to learn more.”

The kit contains everything for the surgery and the control circuit, but it requires you to purchase large cockroaches separately.

Ordering information: The RoboRoach contains 1x Free iOS or Android 4.3+ application for remote control, 1x Bluetooth Roboroach backpack control unit, 1x 1632 RoboRoach Battery, 3x Electrode Sets (to implant 3 Roaches), 1x A Roach Terrarium, 1x Fine forceps (tweezers), 1x Forceps (hemostat), 1x Loupe, 1x Low temp Hot Glue Gun, and 1x Hot glue sticks.

Caution: Caution: Adult supervision required.

See it in action



Item # Description No. of Lab Groups Unit Availability Price Quantity
470223-000 The RoboRoach
1 Kit of 1 Retrieving


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