Teenagers Create a Roach Cyborg, Make It “Dance”

08.11.11 Marina Galperina

robotFour high school students spent their summer engineering internship at Cooper Union performing surgery on an “anesthetized” roach, wiring an electronic chip into its antenna and making it run around to Weezer.

Watch the 3-inch Central American cockroach — a.k.a. the enemy of New York — get pummeled with rhythmical electric signals and, thinking he’s run into an obstacle, run the other way. And right. And left. Two step… The gross critter gets used to a steady beat, but when the kids crank up the bass on the Top 40, there it goes again, scuttling about in horror.

PETA has already called this project “inhumane” because it teaches students “that animals are merely objects to be manipulated,” but Cooper Union insists that the project will lead to innovations in neuroprosthetics that could repair human organs like retinas. Although the kids’ glee may appear a bit unsettling, it IS a roach and not a sentient creature, but maybe this bunch shouldn’t be allowed near any bunnies, monkeys or dogs anytime soon.