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Researchers Remote Control Flying Beetles Via Electrodes

The military and researchers across the country have been working on putting tiny bots in the air for quite some time. They've talked robotic spy-bats, dreamed up cyborg crickets, dragonflies, and all matter of other bug-sized bots. In fact, they've successfully implanted electrodes into the brains of crickets, moths, and beetles to exercise some control over their movements -- they even got a beetle to briefly take flight. But until now, the amount of control over motions has been very limited.

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have succeeded in implanting electrodes into a beetle to remotely control its flight (video after the break). These mini electronics allow untethered control in free flight, something unachieved before now. In a paper published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience Journal, the researchers write that the zombie-controlled bugs could be "couriers to locations not easily accessible to humans or terrestrial robots."

By sending electrical impulses through the implants the scientists are able to control the flapping of the beetle's wings. Sending a stronger signal the muscles on the left sends the bug careening to the left, and stimulating the muscles on the right steers it in that direction.

The degree of manipulation is impressive, and rather than waste another word trying to explain this incredible achievement, just watch the video below. Once you've picked your jaw up off the floor, watch it again.
[From: Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience and Wired, Via: Digg]

Tags: beetle, cyborg, military, research, robot, robots, science, top, weird