We've told you before about remote-controlled cockroaches being strapped with steering wheels so that the insects could help rescue earthquake victims. Now roaches are skittering into a more aesthetic venue — the art gallery. As part of the "Life, in some form" exhibit by the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), Dallas-based artist Brittany Ransom debuted her Twitter-Remote-Controlled Cockroach.
Similar to the RoboRoach, Ransom's device used a small electronic backpack that attached to the cockroach's antenna, enabling the insect to respond to stimulated left or right commands. Using Arduino hardware and custom-programmed software, Ransom was able to link the roach to Twitter. Visitors to the exhibit could send commands to the @TweetRoach account such as #TweetRoachLeft and #TweetRoachRight.
As her artist bio explains, Ransom likes to explore the "paradoxical bond between human, nature, its inhabitants and the
co-evolution between the living and budding technological innovation
while questioning these technologies."
Ransom told CNET that her project mirrors the digital overstimulation that many of us experience everyday. She also said she wanted to see if the cockroaches could eventually learn to adapt and ignore her system's signals.
"At what point does its intelligence and ability take over? How much does
it take before we are all desensitized to overstimulation?" Ransom wrote in an email to CNET. "As we, as
human beings, grow more cyborgian and interconnected through social
media, this project helps us participate in discovering the answer."
Credit: Brittany Ransom