Nature Blog Network

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why Fly Remote Controlled Airplanes When You Can Fly a Fly?

MIT Technology Review has an interesting article on Army research to remotely control a beetle's flight path via a neural microchip implant. Don't believe me? Check the video. Its fascinating!

"The beetle's payload consists of an off-the-shelf microprocessor, a radio receiver, and a battery attached to a custom-printed circuit board, along with six electrodes implanted into the animals' optic lobes and flight muscles. Flight commands are wirelessly sent to the beetle via a radio-frequency transmitter that's controlled by a nearby laptop. Oscillating electrical pulses delivered to the beetle's optic lobes trigger takeoff, while a single short pulse ceases flight. Signals sent to the left or right basilar flight muscles make the animal turn right or left, respectively."
Hat tip to mocost via Twitter.


  1. ^^ Oh the joy of piloting a great big fly onto the face of your favourite politician as they are trying to make a speech.


  2. Flying an RC airplane is in some small way a substitute for man not being able to fly himself.


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