Cyborg Beetles: Hope for Future Search-and-rescue Missions
By sending a signal to the beetle, the direction of movement can be changed and the beetle will manage the rest.
The development of a remote-controlled beetle could well spell a breakthrough in future search-and rescue missions at disaster sites. A collaboration between NTU’s School of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering and University of California, Berkeley, the cyborg beetle was created by strapping tiny computers and wireless radios on the backs of giant beetles. The high-tech backpack is detachable and harmless to the beetle. The giant insect goes on to live normally and fulls its regular, adult lifespan which is about five to six months. By stimulating the insect’s nervous system electronically, scientists can control its walking gait, speed and direction of movement. With their small size, these cyborg beetles could potentially be used in surveillance situations.
- Potential for use in search-and- rescue missions as it could go into small nooks and crevices in a collapsed building to locate injured survivors.
“Compared with existing insect-computer hybrid robots in which the control of walking speed and gait is impossible, the ability to monitor the robot’s walking speed and walking gait would enable it to complete more complicated tasks,”
A study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface
With advances in biofuel technology, future iterations of the cyborg beetle could have energy harvesters embedded in the insect. A refined version of this technology can potentially help save many lives in search-and- rescue missions.