Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Scientists have created 'living computer-bug hybrids'

bug.jpg

Nope. It's not an April Fools' Day joke.

Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have successfully created an "insect–computer hybrid legged robot using a living beetle".

Eight pairs of electrodes were attached to the limbs of the Mecynorrhina torquata beetle, Coleoptera, allowing the team of researchers to control the movements of the bug's front legs with greater accuracy than ever before.

By varying the electric signals transmitted to the legs, the scientists ("men playing at gods") were able to change the speed at which the beetle moved - from walking to 'galloping'.

bug

The rationale behind going full Frankenstein with the poor beetle? The researchers hope their work will one day lead to insects being deployed where vastly expensive drones can't reach. "Unlike man-made legged robots for which many tiny parts, sensors and actuators are manufactured, assembled and integrated, the insect–computer hybrid robots directly use living insects as Nature's ready-made robot platforms," explains the research paper.

"The only necessary ‘assembly’ or ‘operation’ to create an insect–computer hybrid robot is to mount a miniature radio device and implant thin wire electrodes into appropriate neuromuscular sites on the insect for electrical stimulation to induce the desired motor actions and behaviours."

While previous experiments have successfully controlled insects with electric signals before, this is the first time researchers have been able to demonstrate accurate control over the subject's movements.

In further experiments, the team are hoping to control more than two legs in one beetle, or even manipulate a flying insect such as a dragon fly.

Sure, it's all very interesting right now - but it could take a very different turn should our new buggy minions decide to turn on their masters. We've seen the films...

[Via: TechCrunch]

Related

D.jpg

Dinosaurs may not have died the way we thought

fight4.jpg

Science Kombat is the most fun you can have with scientists

netflix.jpg

10 things you didn't know you could do with Netflix

Comments

More

Super Mario in Grand Theft Auto is weird and awesome

Who would've thought Mario would get into a knife fight in a park?

by Jamie Carson
18 Jan 2017

The only Vines worth preserving

The most important cultural artefacts of our time

by Tristan Cross
17 Jan 2017

Hurrah: The Nintendo Switch now has a price and release date

Here's everything you need to know about the new console

by Tom Fordy
13 Jan 2017

The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

Aquatic snaps that made a splash

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Using Google Maps actually does ruin your sense of direction

"Make a U-turn where possible"

by Dave Fawbert
11 Jan 2017

Netflix releases 8-bit game featuring Narcos and Stranger Things

Goodbye, productivity.

by Emily Badiozzaman
10 Jan 2017

The original Game Boy is coming back

Time to dust off your Pokemon Red & Blue cartridges

by Jamie Carson
10 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017

This is why hitting the snooze button is bad for your health

If you snooze, you really do lose

03 Jan 2017