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DARPA harvests energy from cyborg beetles to keep them brainwashed

Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
September 1, 2011
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Beetles packing cybernetic implants that control their brains make a cheaper and more useful micro-air-vehicle than a fully robotic one -- but due to the weight of the battery packs required, development has been slow. Now a DARPA-funded team at the University of Michigan thinks it's eliminated that problem. By attaching piezoelectric generators to each wing, the researchers can harvest the energy generated in flight and use it to juice the mind-control circuits. At present, the system generates about half the energy the team thinks it can produce, as innovations in ceramic production of the miniature devices should solve that. An experimental robotics project in competition with a cyborg one? This all feels a bit too RoboCop for us.

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