HI-MEMS: Control Circuits Embedded In Pupal Stage Successfully

Cornell University researchers have succeeded in implanting electronic circuit probes into tobacco hornworms as early pupae. The hornworms pass through the chrysalis stage to mature into moths whose muscles can be controlled with the implanted electronics.


(Tobacco hornworm with circuit and electrode implanted in pupal stage.)

The pupal insertion state is shown in insert "i" in the picture seen above. The successful emergence of a microsystem-controlled insect is shown in insert "ii;" the microsystem platform is shown held with tweezers. The X-ray image (A) shows the probes inserted into the dorsoventral and dorsolongitudinal flight muscles. CT images (B) show components of high absorbance indicating tissue growth around the probe.


(Results of insertions done at different stages of metamorphosis.)

The research also indicated the most favorable and least favorable times for insertion of control devices. The overall size of the circuit board is 8x7mm, with a total weight of about 500 mg. The capacity of the battery is 16 mAh, and weighs 240 mg.

A driving voltage of 5 volts causes the tobacco hornworm blade muscles (two pairs) to move for flight and maneuvering.

DARPA HI-MEMS program director Amit Lal credits science fiction writer Thomas Easton with the idea. Lal read Easton's 1990 novel Sparrowhawk, in which animals enlarged by genetic engineering were outfitted with implanted control systems.

Dr. Easton, a professor of science at Thomas College, sees a number of applications for HI-MEMS insects.

Moths are extraordinarily sensitive to sex attractants, so instead of giving bank robbers money treated with dye, they could use sex attractants instead. Then, a moth-based HI-MEMS could find the robber by following the scent."

"[Also,] with genetic engineering Darpa could replace the sex attractant receptor on the moth antennae with receptors for other things, like explosives, drugs or toxins," said Easton.

DARPA had better be careful with its insect army; in Easton's novel, hackers are able to gain control of genetically engineered animals by hacking the controller chips used in their implanted control structures.

Read more about Roachsters, full-size anthropod-based vehicles with embedded control structures from Easton's 1990 book Sparrowhawk.

If you are interested in one dark-side view of how this kind of invention could be used by corporations, see the madcap blurbflies from Jeff Noon's excellent 2000 novel Nymphomation.

Learn more about HI-MEMS (Hybrid Insect Micro-Electrico-Mechanical Systems) Sought By DARPA; additional research reviewed at HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem. Via Robot Watch. See also this informative article Darpa hatches plan for insect cyborgs to fly reconnaissance.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/27/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.' - Ellis Parker Butler, 1926.

Prufrock The Newest Boring Machine
'It sounds to me as though you had invented a kind of metal earthworm...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.'

Cute Teddy Bear Robot Favorite Of Hospitalized Children
'...thought had been given to its programming.'

Google Now Expects Chips To Design Themselves
'What lay down there? Energy, tubes and pipes, wiring, transformers, self-contained machinery...'

PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun'

3D Printed Glass Uses Stereolithography Techniques
'All that with glass...'

Science Fiction Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'

I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'

Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'

Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'

Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'

AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'

E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.