The ability to control a flying insect as if it was a remote-controlled airplane – It sounds impossible. However, researchers at at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a device which will do just that. The team, headed by Michel Maharbiz, have successfully embedded microelectromechanical systems sensors in the body of a beetle.
The project, which has been funded by an agency of the United States Department of Defense, has resulted in the creation of implantations which hijack control of the beetle’s motor functions. The giant beetle wears an electronic backpack, which is implanted in the early stages of growth.
According to the research group, the device works through the implantation of “several neural electrodes into the beetle’s nervous and muscular systems…A microcontroller and a microbattery are mounted on the beetle dorsal thorax. The microcontroller transfers appropriate electrical signals via the implanted electrodes. This cyborg beetle system actually makes it possible for us to perform initiation, cessation, elevation and left/right turns of the beetle flight”. In layman’s terms, the borg beetle’s wings and flight can be controlled through the delivery of pulses to the brain.
What do you think of the world’s new Robobug?