Aaaccck! Yeah, forget the fact that the bug you just swallowed was, oh, say the size of your palm. It also happens to have the newest in remote radio control gadgetry, and probably the diseases of a hundred generations, strapped to it’s muscly exoskeleton.
As if we didn’t have enough to make us cringe with super agile robots and flesh-eating mechs, you can now rest less easy at night as you tumble into dreamland with the fear that cyborg insects can be controlled to fly left… AND RIGHT. Pleasant dreams. I’d keep the lights off.
Leave it up to small group of researcher out at the University of California, Berkeley to successfully integrate digital control over our beloved species of Mecynorrhina torquata, aka the flower beetle. Nevermind the forward appendages. Oh and you SO don’t want to see these in the larva stage. No, no, no.
The miniaturized system developed by Sato and his colleagues is mounted onto the pronotum (the dorsal, or upper, plate of the exoskeleton), and consists of electrodes implanted into the brain and wing muscles. Flight commands to start and stop flight and control the insect’s elevation and turning were generated on a personal computer running specialized software, and transmitted to a microcontroller which is equipped with a radio transceiver and powered by a microbattery
So, no longer will mean, little children need to poke weeds through insect to get their jollies. Just bolt this to your favorite bug’s forehead for hours of endless fun. What? This could be implanted into a human brain? Puh-lease! that’s outlandish. Such a thing would NEVER happen… this week.
Mecynorrhina torquata image via Danne’s Animals