Cockroach Control System (via Psychological Manipulation)





Introduction: Cockroach Control System (via Psychological Manipulation)

Allows a microcomputer (e.g. basic stamp) to autonomously control a cockroach's direction of movement. You could also make a remote control system. The basic stamp sends TTL signals to a uLN2803 chip which amplifies the current enough to contract a nitinol (shape memory alloy) strand. The contracting nitinol strand flips open one of two flaps which hang on either side of the cockroach's antennae. This creates an illusion for the cockroach of
--"wall left, open right", and
--"wall right, open left"
which in turn controls the cockroaches movement (it's not going to move left if it feels a 'wall' on the left.

I recently realized that probably a better way of controlling the cockroaches movements is by just putting one LED on each side of its head, since they run away from light. Just turn both on to make it go forward, and one on to make it turn left or right. LEDs would require a lot less power and mechanical complexity. I'm going to try it out.

Cockroach backpack paradigm being tested, cockroach responded as desired to the backpack commands

Cockroach backpack being tested, nitinol constriction moves antenna flap.

Step 1: Making the Backpack

When I put together the backpack, it was my first electronic project ever, so it ended up being excessively heavy. I used a camera flash battery to supply the pulse of current needed to contract the nitinol, but you would want to use a capacitor and a smaller battery to reduce weight. I used periplaneta americana which is strong and moves a lot. I also tried giant madagascar hissing cockroaches but they just sleep all the time and are very slow. You should buy these from animal supply places, otherwise you'll have to wait a long time for the roaches in your kitchen to get big enough (about 1.5 inches).

I used really crappy materials that I had on hand to make the backpack, it could be built a lot better with different materials. Apparently nitinol can be soldered, which I didn't know at the time, so I crimped the nitinol at its ends (pretty friggen annoying).

If you reduce the weight enough you could make it remote controlled (instead of controlled by preprogrammed commands from the basic stamp). See the remote control diagram. You could also add sensors and make the basic stamp use the sensors to control the roach.

Step 2: Making the Backpack Circuit

I made my backpack like shown below, but you should use smaller batteries anc capacitors to power the contraction of the nitinol.

You can make the backpack remote controlled (see diagram with RF receiver).

You can make the basic stamp issue preprogrammed commands (see diagram without RF receiver)

Or you can make the basic stamp use sensors to make autonomous decisions (no diagram for that).

To reduce weight, I used cardboard and taped the electronic components to it. I wire wrapped the pins of the electronics to each other.

Step 3: Attaching the Backpack

you'll need to knock out the cockroach. I had a CO2 gas outlet at school, so I hooked a hose up to it and stuck the hose into the cockroaches box. When you hear it stop running around, it's asleep.

Gently slide it out of its box onto a 'gas stage' (don't know what these are called but look at the photo). This gas stage emits CO2 so the cockroach stays asleep.

Carefully clip off the wings to avoid cutting the exoskeleton. Cut far away from the attachment point and work your way closer so as not to damage anything else.

Put a small drop of super glue onto your backpack and attach it on the second segment (see picture) of the cockroach. DO NOT use too much glue or you will glue the segments together.

Turn off the gas and let the cockroach wake up. Make sure it's in an arena or it might run off with your backpack.

To remove the backpack, knock the cockroach out again, put a tiny bit of solvent (like acetone) on the tip of something and dab it around the edges of the backpack. It will come loose.

Let the cockroack wake up and return it to its cage. See my instructable on how to care for cockroaches:



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I've read a few pest control sites' roach pages like this one

in the past, and some
mentioned roaches biting people. I thought to myself "What a stupid
idea. Every roach site says that that roaches do not bite". Just a
minute ago, though, I think I experienced what one would call a roach
"bite" from an adult male Blaberus discoidalis. When I handle
them, they're usually very jittery and flutter off of my hand, which is
really entertaining -the distances they can cover are sometimes beyond
what I expect, and I have to go on a little roach hunt to get them back.
Anyway, I was handling him and he seemed pretty calm and suddenly, to
my surprise, he gave my hand a firm nibble with his mandibles. It scared
me a lot more than I thought it would, and I almost flung him off. I
think he was trying to eat me as my Pycnoscelus surinamensis
often do, but when they do it, it's much more gentle, and they continue
to chew for a while before giving up. This discoid, though, gave me a
pretty big jump. Interesting behavior; I wonder if they ever use this
for self defense?

Has anyone else experienced something like this?

Cockroaches are funner to step on than waste time with


cool but ewwwwwwwwwwwwww gross :P

Cruelty,simply cruelty. :-( how would you like it if someone controlled you?HUH!

if you watch tv you are being controlled too

I don't care how old this reply is; it rocks.

but we are not nicking on anyone's stuff like thieves

You've never been to my house... We have so many roaches, you would hate them too... I ended up burning them, (flamethrower ftw!!) crushing, smearing, flipping them on their backs and backing them over with my mom's van, one accidentally got into the dishwasher one time while my mom was in the kitchen...she locked it in and turned the dishwasher on... We never saw that roach again.

Cockroaches aren’t so hard to control. You simply need to familiar with the symptoms that you have a roach swarm, and next you have to find out where their shell is. Then you must discover a way to acquire at the case to take care of it. Oh, and you have to know how to do those action methods for the highest optimistic result.

I once thought of spraying some perfume over a rat collony to cause a civil war. Since they are very aggresive if they are not able to recognize their neighbour's odor...
I fancy these projects. Most of todays best inventions were product of crazy ideas like this one!