Radio-Controlled Beetle By UC Berkeley
A shiny radio-controlled rhinoceros beetle was demonstrated by UC Berkeley researchers at the MEMS 2009 conference taking place in Sorrento, Italy.
(Radio-controlled rhinoceros beetle set-up)
Researchers are able to wirelessly control the movement of the beetle's wings as well as "some other parts." Rhinoceros beetles can carry a control package of up to 1.3 grams on their backs and still fly.
Prior work has been done to control insect movements directly; this is their first free-flying (just an expression, in this case), wirelessly-controlled success.
Take a look at the previous article HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem for lots of details and pictures of this DARPA-financed research.
The idea for remote-controlled insects derives from a 1990 science fiction novel by Thomas A. Easton:
"There's the brain, the spinal chord, the motor centers. A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain." She explained how the controller, a computer, translated movements of the tiller or control yoke and the throttle and brake pedals into electrical signals and routed them as appropriate to the jets or the genimal's motor centers, triggering the genimal's own nervous system into commanding its muscles to serve the driver. All the necessary programming was built into the hardware...
(Read more about the Roachster from Sparrowhawk)
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