The Army’s Remote-Controlled Beetle

The insect’s flight path can be wirelessly controlled via a neural implant.

Michel Maharbiz

A giant flower beetle with implanted electrodes and a radio receiver on its back can be wirelessly controlled, according to research presented this week. Scientists at the University of California developed a tiny rig that receives control signals from a nearby computer. Electrical signals delivered via the electrodes command the insect to take off, turn left or right, or hover in midflight. The research, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), could one day be used for surveillance purposes or for search-and-rescue missions.

>>>>> Article in MIT Technology Review

Cyborg beetle: Shown here is a giant flower beetle carrying a microprcessor, radio receiver, and microbattery and implanted with several electrodes. To control the insect’s flight, scientists wirelessly deliver signals to the payload, which sends electrical signals through the electrode to the brain and flight muscles. Credit: Michel Maharbiz
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4 thoughts on “The Army’s Remote-Controlled Beetle

  1. walt

    nice to see the army is still wasting my tax dollars on more useless lame crap. not to mention electronic manipulation of nerves and muscles is neither new or impressive.
    it’s odd that they would debut such a cruel project. can’t help but wonder what sort of unethical, bizarre crap they keep secret.
    way to be all you can be, army.

  2. Fellu

    It seems your second paragraph seems to leaks a bit to your first 🙂

    Useful::
    I can imagine that using a beetle (which can carry quite a load) to spy (add camera) would be useful to the army

    New::
    There are a few similar projects going on at the moment. But I think this one is one of the most successful.

    Impressive::
    Ah well, that is personal.

  3. John Worthington

    Insects are one thing but mammals are next. Think about having a herd of elephants under robot control. It’s like dino-riders or Avatar.

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