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You can now control a cockroach via Twitter

This horrifying, microchip-controlled cockroach obeys your every command.


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Jan 1, 2013   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 4:29 am CDT

Remote controlled cars are so 2012. Twitter controlled cockroaches are the future.

The Twitter Roach is a new project by artist Brittany Ransom which takes your everyday cockroach and turns it into a tweet-controlled robot.

By sending a public message to @tweetroach with hashtags like #TweetRoachLeft and #TweetRoachRight, the small insect will skitter around. Each tweet takes about 30 seconds to translate into movement “to avoid a flood of commands,” CNET added.

“At what point does its intelligence and ability take over?” Ransom told CNET. “How much does it take before we are all desensitized to overstimulation? As we, as human beings, grow more cyborgian and interconnected through social media, this project helps us participate in discovering the answer.”

The roach is controlled by a modified RoboRoach backpack with an Arduino, an open-source microcontroller, which stimulates its nerves. The backpack has been a favorite of college technology department’s all around the country, particularly North Carolina State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Researchers at North Carolina State believe these remote controlled insects will one day be crucial in rescue efforts such as during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

“We are now living in the information era,” Alper Bozkurt, an electrical engineer at North Carolina, told NBC. “So the most important payload is the information itself and we can … gather megabits of information on the insect’s backpack.”

So next time you try to squash a roach remember it may one day save your life.

Screengrab via YouTube

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*First Published: Jan 1, 2013, 12:15 pm CST