Cyborg Moth Bio-Bots.
Real moths hooked up to computerized electronics so that we can control their direction and speed.
No, this isn’t the plot of the latest Marvel mega-movie, it’s actually happening.
According to Eurekalert, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for electronically monitoring the electrical signals moths use to control those muscles. These new discoveries could lead to the remote-control of these cyborg moths – or Bio-bots.
Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the cyborg moths said:
“In the big picture we want to know whether we can control the movement of moths for use in applications such as search and rescue operations. The idea would be to attach sensors to moths in order to create a flexible, aerial sensor network that can identify survivors or public health hazards in the wake of a disaster.”
The above photo shows how researchers attach electrodes to a moth during its pupal stage, when the caterpillar is in a cocoon undergoing metamorphosis into its winged adult stage.
The paper discusses a technique in which a wireless platform is attached to the cyborg moth via an electromagnet. The platform essentially levitates above the moth, enabling the cyborg to turn left and right as it flies. The platform collects electromyographic signals from the cyborg – those signals are the ones that the moth uses to signal its muscles as to what to do.
“We’re optimistic that this information will help us develop technologies to remotely control the movements of moths in flight.”
According to the Daily Digest News, the levitating platform on the cyborg moths will let researchers acquire the data to make the moths truly remote-controllable. Professor Bozkurt told them:
“We now have a platform for collecting data about flight coordination. Next steps include developing an automated system to explore and fine-tune parameters for controlling moth flight, further miniaturizing the technology, and testing the technology in free flying moths.
The question is, if this technology is achieved, will it stop with moths or will researchers be interested to see just how far they can carry the science? What’s the difference between the electromyographic signals in moths and say… butterflies? Or mice? Or dolphins?
What about humans?
Is it possible that a remote-controlled army of cyborg-human bio-bots might be in our future?
image via Activist Post