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Cyborg beetles commandeered for test flight, laser beams not (yet) included

Ross Miller

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Remember that DARPA initiative from a few years back to create cyborg insects? With funding from the agency, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have managed to control a rhinoceros beetle via radio signals, demonstrated in a flight test shown on video at this week's IEEE MEMS 2009 conference. A module placed on the arthropod uses six electrodes affixed to the brain and muscles to commandeer its free will. The device weighs 1.3g -- much less than the 3g payload these guys can handle, and with enough wiggle room to attach sensors for surveillance. Ultimately, scientists say they want to use the beetle's own sensors -- namely, its eyes -- to capture intel and its own body energy to power the apparatus. Keep an eye on this one, we expect it to play a major role in the impending robots vs. humans war.

[Thanks, Mimosa]

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