Condemn Use of Remote Control Animals

Target: Backyard Brains

Goal: Condemn the use of cruel ‘electronic backpacks’ that torture live cockroaches.

A U.S. company, Backyard Brains, recently launched what it touts as the world’s first commercially available cyborg. The Roboroach ‘backpack’ is a 4.4-gram battery pack that you attach by inserting electrodes into a cockroach. The cockroach is then controlled by the user’s mobile device. Please voice your condemnation of this heinous product.

Backyard Brain claims the Roboroach ‘backpack’ will teach kids about neuroscience; however, they fail to mention that you can also teach kids neuroscience without torturing animals. The Roboroach seems more like a disingenuous ploy to profit off of an abominable novelty.

To attach the Roboroach, the cockroach is first placed in ice water to limit movement during the remainder of the procedure. Sandpaper is then used to remove the protective coating from the cockroach’s head so that the device can be glued to the animal. A wire is inserted into the body of the cockroach and the antennae are cut and electrodes inserted. Now the user can control the cockroach with a mobile device, but, according to the Backyard Brain website, the electric stimulation stops working after 2-7 days.  Additionally, despite the fact the Roboroach is now on the market, the Backyard Brains website states that they are still working on revisions, including ‘power management’.

Scientists, professors, and animal-rights groups have spoken out against Backyard Brains, arguing that the Roboroach does cause harm to the cockroach and encourages psychopathic behavior. Despite this criticism, Backyard Brains remains undeterred.

By signing the petition below you are voicing your opposition to the use of electronic backpacks on cockroaches and remote control animals in general.


Dear Backyard Brains,

I condemn the use of remote control animals and urge you to reconsider your launch of the Roboroach product. As you are well aware, the Roboroach has generated severe criticism. Even your own website details many of these criticisms. Notwithstanding your responses to these criticisms, the benefits of your product do not outweigh the negatives.

A written description with illustrations or a video of the procedure can just as effectively teach and inspire children about neuroscience. Torturing animals is superfluous to your stated benefits. Additionally, doing ‘graduate level research’ of this type requires a certain level of maturity that your targeted audience is largely lacking.

While I don’t discount your creativity, sophistry, and entrepreneurship, I believe you could put these traits to better use by working to teach kids neuroscience without promoting animal cruelty.

Please take decisive action to remove this insidious product from the market.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: via YouTube video

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  1. What is the mind-set of the individuals who think that this is OK. Backyard Brains !!! Backyard Nobrains more like – cannot they see that this sends all the wrong messages and encourages animal cruelty in the name of fun.

  2. So asinine, This will teach kids and idiotic adults with no sense to become sadists and after torturing the cockroaches then what will they go after? Cats, dogs, birds, frogs, little toddlers or grandma? I can see it and I may sound like I’m going up a one way creek without a paddle but this is awful and these people who invented this for profit and total greed, need a reality check. Can you imagine Christmas morning and in the stocking is this device to torture first cockroaches on a day of peace and then whatever else they can relieve their boredom on. God forbid it is too stupid to contemplate.

  3. Trudy Nickols says:


  4. Even though I have no love of insects etc.. I do believe everything is put on this earth to balance out nature, therefore I still consider this abuse/torture in a form as anything inflicted onto another living being like this is against nature! I definitely think anyone who thinks up stuff like this borderlines sadistic/madness! Leave all living beings to live in peace, love and harmony! 🙂

  5. cindy norris says:

    just another way for brainless, heartless idiots to torture animals

  6. We all get what we give – Backwoods Brains will get theirs!

  7. Cockroaches are disgusting to me, I can’t even see them, but no living creature deserves this. Not to mention the kind of things that “toy” is realy going to teach kids. BackyardBrains is even more disgusting than any roach…

  8. Charlotte Serazio says:

    I have never heard of something so pathetic and obviously a way for BackyardBrains to make money….they should change their name to
    Backword Brains….it sounds like something out of “Deliverance Mentality”

    What concerns me the most about this is how it could give simple minds the idea of doing this to other animals, namely, cats, dogs, etc. We have to stop this type of madness before it escalates to other levels.

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