Monday, 23 March 2015

Flying beetle remotely controlled by scientists

Tiny electronic backpack mounted on back of giant flower beetle allows scientists to instruct it to take off, land or change directions

2:47PM GMT 20 Mar 2015

Scientists have been able to remotely control a flying beetle - paving the way for search and rescue cyborgs.

A tiny electronic backpack mounted on the back of a giant flower beetle allowed scientists to instruct it to take off, land or change directions.

But unlike current remote-controlled drones, the living machine requires minimal human intervention only to change direction as the beetle was able to maintain flight stability, avoid collisions and crawl into small spaces on its own.

The study by Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley broke new grounds in the future of remote-controlled drone technology.

The backpack consists of a microprocessor and battery pack, which is strapped onto the beetle using organic beeswax - harmless and easily removed.

Six electrodes from the microprocessor are connected to the beetle's optic lobes and flight muscles and wireless signals influence the insect to take off, turn left or right, or even hover in mid-flight.

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