Bored scientists create radio-controlled beetles

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Nope, your eyes aren’t broken or anything: that’s a beetle with a circuit board snapped into place. It’s the DARPA-funded handiwork of a group of scientists from the University of California, who are trying to better understand how the insect flies (while using so little energy). Data in hand, these scientists would then be able to help authorities develop better surveillance techniques, or to improve search-and-rescue operations. The result is a radio-controlled beetle, which is just slightly unnerving.

The beetle becomes something of a cyborg. Six electrodes are placed into its optic lobe, whatever that is, and its flight muscles. Then scientists, using a series of off-the-shelf components (including a microprocessor and radio transmitter), are able to control the little guy with the flick of a switch. “Turn left!” and the appropriate muscle is stimulated.

I’d imagine that a certain busybody segment of the population doesn’t look too kindly upon this playing God, but no one cares what they think, right? Playing God is fun, and highly rewarding.

via medGadget

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