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New generation spy: the cyborg moth

Community and ForumBlogNew generation spy: the cyborg moth

Lev Bely, 17.02.2012 21:31

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researches successfully implanted an electric neural probe into the body of a huge, fist-sized moth. That's it, a pull-string spy is ready to use.

Cyborg moth not only can be turned at will left or right, moreover, it could put more or less effort in that being even more manageable than a remote control plane. This is a first “offspring” of a big $18.5 million U.S. government project on controlling insects with electrical signals. And all this ado is aimed to get one beautiful day these mini-cyborgs started a government career as perfect super spies. The project is partially financed by the U.S. military.

The electric neural probe equipped with a battery is applied to a radio receiver for taking signals apart. The whole 0.5 gm “ammunition” is implanted directly into the insect abdomen. “Their wingspan is the width of your hand,” says Joel Voldman of MIT in a report in New Scientist. “These are big guys.”

“This is a major advance,” says neurobiologist Roy Ritzmann of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio.

The researches together with neurobiologists are exploring if similar probes could be implanted into a human body. “It turns out that there are a bunch of nerves in humans that are about the same size,” says Voldman.

The project workout showed that the moth could be turned left or right getting signals into certain bundles of nerves. The electric probe is attached to the ventral nerve cord while five electrodes are fixed to different bundles of nerves inside the insect body. The turning radius can be changed with the current given.

The probe is made of a polyamide polymer coated with gold and carbon nanotubes. Such mixture guarantees the thing won't break down at crucial moment. Stay cool, spy!

The Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Photo: The Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk

New Scientist magazine on cyborg insects

All the rest posts on: science, USA, technology


25.03.2012 19:21, Lev Bely

“Cyborg bugs come to help” lecture by Dr. Michel Maharbiz from the University of California, Berkeley, will be held on March 26th at the Digital October centre (Moscow, Russia) as a part of the Knowledge Stream project. The lecture is supported by “In the world of science” magazine. Dr. Maharbiz will talk about the latest projects of his laboratory, namely, neuro implants which allow to control insects' flight patterns at a distance. If you want to visit the lecture, please, register yourself at the Digital October centre website, http://digitaloctober.timepad.ru/event/21564. You may make your questions and take part in a discussion followed along with Russian experts in micro— and nanobiology.
If you somehow can't visit the lecture but would like to see that anyway, please, tune in www.digitaloctober.ru or www.knowledgestream.ru to watch it online. Put your questions to the lecturer and comment the discussion in Twitter using #knowledgestream hashtag.
The Digital October centre, http://digitaloctober.timepad.ru

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