Monday, February 2, 2009
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded the development of a wirelessly controlled beetle to be used one day for surveillance purposes or for search-and-rescue missions. No doubt devices like this will also soon be adopted by the porn industry and your local P.I.
Emily Singer wrote a story on this research for Technology Review.
Michel Maharbiz and colleagues at the University of California implanted electrodes and a radio receiver on the back of a giant flower beetle. Commands to takeoff, turn right or left, and hover are initiated from a computer to a radio receiver and microprocessor on a custom-printed circuit board mounted on the beetle's back. Six electrodes were implanted into the insect's optic lobes and flight muscles.
Beware of low flying objects once the plans for building the components of this system find their way into Popular Mechanics.