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TweetRoach, the Cyborg cockroach controlled by Twitter tags

  • Written by Jed E. Robinson
  • Published in Innovation

Brittany Ransom, the creator of the Cyborg cockroach, is an assistant professor of Hybrid/Digital Video and Media Art at the SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

Interactive art is becoming more popular nowadays. The artist presented it at the 'Life, In Some Form' exhibition now running in Chicago.

Ransom built the TweetRoach by attaching an Arduino backpack worth $100 to a cockroach in order to stimulate its antennae. Through specially made software Brittany Ransom was able to hook the Cyborg cockroach to respond to Twitter commands.

In order to control the TweetRoach's movement one could use the hash tags #TweetRoachRight or #TweetRoachLeft. Since the artist expected many people will at least try to move the cockroach to the left or right she took extra precautions to make sure the insect is not overloaded with commands. The software only processed one instruction every 30 seconds.

This simulation was also meant to study how soon the cockroach would become desensitized or overloaded by the information. Brittany Ransom explained the remote controlled cockroach won't be hurt during the experiment and that for a cockroach every command would just seem as if it bumps into something.

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