The US Pentagon’s latest version of bugging an enemy is the first wireless flying-insect cyborg- a remote-controlled beetle borg by University of California at Berkeley engineers – which can rise, hover and fly on command, guided by a radio receiver that relays signals to electrodes connected to the insect’s optic lobes and flight muscles, says Spencer Ornes in Discover magazine. Researchers recently demonstrated the bugbot at a conference in Italy. With the mind of a machine and the nimble body of an insect, it may be the perfect scout: inexpensive, expendable and strong enough to carry payloads, such as miniature reconnaissance camera.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also sponsoring research on implanting insects with machinery during early life stages. Since butterflies can fly thousands of miles without feeding, a cyborg version might be perfect for long-range missions. Caterpillars might be modified to grow into adults tha tlook like regular butterfiles but have embedded wires and electrodes for flight control. Dragonflies, capable of 45 miles per hour, might take on high-speed missions. “And with a wingspan of about 10 inches, the moth ‘Thysania agrippa’ has caught DARPA’s attention as a miniature cargo ship,” says Ornes.
from www.readthehook.com print version
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