Radio controlled beetle

beetle

Scientists at the university of California have managed to implant a chip in a giant flower beetle that makes it respond to commands from the computer. They can tell it to fly, stop, turn left and turn right.  The controls are done through its optic nerves and wing muscles. Though the article states that flight signals are sent to the optic lobes and steering is done through stimulation of the wing muscles, the video shows steering being accomplished through optic lobe stimulation.

Though we’re sure there’s some grand scientific goal behind this, we can’t help but think (hope) that we’ll be seeing giant robot controlled beetle battles with lasers and rockets.

Comments

  1. JC says:

    hey, so is it still alive when ya do this?

    seems a bit, well cruel, XD but being a techie,

    i have to say—AWESOME!!!

  2. n00bhunter says:

    @jc you are 14m3

  3. The Moogle says:

    Why was the chip blanked?
    MAX i think it says…

    wonder how many beetles they fried by mistake?

  4. RJSC says:

    This is going to far!
    I Love Technology, but to me, technology stops when it tries to pierce under the skin of a living thing.

  5. AK says:

    Wow robotics has become a lazy field. What ever happened to building metal contraptions from the scratch? Now we’re just adding chips to bugs? weak.

  6. kw says:

    I don’t think the issue should be that they are controlling living things. I think it should be more of understanding the nervous system and a step to a possible treatment to life-threatening nervous diseases.

  7. andrew says:

    “to me, technology stops when it tries to pierce under the skin of a living thing.”

    too late. been doing that for years with plants. better stop eating produce from the grocery store or else you’re encouraging this kind of “evil” technology.

  8. walt says:

    nice to see the army is still wasting my tax dollars on more useless lame crap. not to mention electronic manipulation of nerves and muscles is neither new or impressive.
    it’s odd that they would debut such a cruel project. can’t help but wonder what sort of unethical, bizarre crap they keep secret.
    way to be all you can be, army.

  9. Blake says:

    “we can’t help but think (hope) that we’ll be seeing giant robot controlled beetle battles with lasers and rockets”

    If you recall your Dr. Seuss, beetles ought to battle with paddles in a puddle in a bottle on a poodle eating noodles.

  10. Angus says:

    This WAS the coolest thing I’ve ever seen…until I saw that it’s funded by the DoD. Then it just got scary.

  11. 34 says:

    All they need now are a tiny camera, mic & transmitter, and they can have the little RC spy cockroach from Fifth Element!

  12. The DoD has nukes, nerve gas, anthrax, agent orange, napalm, etc., and people are worried that they can remote control beetles?

    If you want to be a hippy, fine, but there is no need to be patently irrational about it.

    As for the sentiment that this is cruel, I don’t think the beetle minds, seeing as its nervous system is not complex enough to permit any sort of ‘thought’ beyond direct physical response to stimuli.

    For comparison, the wasp Ampulex Compressa stings a cockroach so as to briefly paralyze it, then again so as disable the escape reflex, and then steers the roach to its nest where it lays eggs on, which hatch, penetrate the roach, and devour it alive as the larvae gestate. That seems a much crueler fate for the beetle, but I don’t see anyone launching an extermination campaign against Ampulex Compressa. Of course, maybe that is that is because Ampulex Compressa is not a convenient political target.

  13. Angus says:

    nerve gas and anthrax worry me a bit less than the government controlling my mind and body. :)

  14. Laminar says:

    “I Love Technology, but to me, technology stops when it tries to pierce under the skin of a living thing.”

    Yeah, tell that to anyone with a pacemaker or false hip.

  15. klop says:

    > nerve gas and anthrax worry me a bit less than
    > the government controlling my mind and body. :)

    it’s too late, they are already controlling him

  16. Marvin0013 says:

    Hey, both Rocket Robin Hood and Spider-Man fought Giant Robotic Beetles over 4 decades ago. I guess it means that golden future we were promised is almost here!

  17. Louis II says:

    Hmm…

    So this is the very first Beetle Borg?

    How long until we implant humans and seed them into the collective of involuntary action?

  18. Louis II says:

    “Wow robotics has become a lazy field. What ever happened to building metal contraptions from the scratch? Now we’re just adding chips to bugs? weak.”

    Lol… so true! I was thinking to myself “hm.. with a controller that small, they could easily build a “beetle” from scratch that would do the same exact things as this one, with out having to be concerned with it running off, or needing to add leg-movement inhibitors.

    In other History of Tech news:
    There was a project to burn out Japan by using Bats deployed with time release incendiary devices on their beings. They would fly in to roost after being deployed from an offshore bomber plane in the very early morning. As they left the bomber deployment system, they would prime the incendiaries. After finding roost, the incendiaries would ignite and burn Japan to the ground. It was developed and fully tested in the US before the war with Japan ended with WW2. The thing that stopped it from going ahead was the nuclear weapons program that was a month from being ready for deployment over Japan. The bat project was canceled and the nukes were dropped soon after.

    Anyway.. technology is a trip!

  19. visionetiks says:

    Remember humans are animals too. Maybe with beefier brains and what not, but still animals.

    Now suppose humans are plain animals, and crocodiles are the advanced ones

    Would you rather:

    A. Die quickly and without too much pain, victim of a crocodile nuke or strong poison

    -or-

    B. Be controlled by the crocodiles against your free will while you’re still conscious and with absolutely no way to escape? You’d still feel pain from whatever they are forcing you to do

    This is not about not putting technology under your skin (it has good uses), this is about having respect for the free nature of all animals, including humans.

    Also, like ak said, metallic robots are more badass

  20. llama says:

    visionetiks = PETE Freak

  21. Wwhat says:

    Lead scientist happen to be Dr eurostone?
    (francs were replaced by the euro you know ;)

  22. tlvb says:

    So, removing all the bugs from the system would make it stop working?
    They should have started with a better platform to begin with to avoid to have to code around bugs this big.

  23. Icefox says:

    This is just how it starts. This will lead to the development of medical systems that will significantly help humans. This is just helping us understand the nervous system on a smaller scale. Imagine if there were effective artificial nerves to help paraplegics walk again or increasing the range of prosthetics. We can’t just start out putting chips and stuff in people’s heads, we need to do a few practice rounds with something…I don’t wanna say less important.

    Would it make you beetle rights people happy if they did some research to making this process painless to the beetle? I’m sure it wouldn’t effect it’s performance as a mindless cyborg-drone (lets just call it what it is)?

  24. supershwa says:

    woohoo! the cyborg era has begun! i can’t wait to get my fully-loaded machine body parts complete with rocket launchers and machine guns. oh and a dvd player.

    heck with just this they could introduce a new type of warfare: swarmfare

    guess I’ll need to equip my cyber-skeleton with a few tanks of bug spray too.

    :P

  25. Lee Drake says:

    When tweedle beetles battle with a paddle in a puddle on a poodle eating noodles it’s called a tweedle beetle puddle paddle noodle poodle battle.

  26. epicelite says:

    Gonna be cool when it makes crippled ppl walk.

  27. joatmon says:

    @tlvb
    all i could think of when i saw the artical, was “now even the bugs will have bugs”

  28. DrJ says:

    I take a class from this professor.. harhar.

    If you think about it, we could use this to spy on people in a large group.

    *puts on tinfoil hat*

  29. -hero says:

    wirskrood

    -hero

  30. ragnar says:

    Today I like the ethics part of my brain more than the scientific part. It seems to be higher evolved.

  31. dan says:

    If I was a beetle i would sign up today!

  32. da66en says:

    When are we going to get shark’s with freaking laser beams? That is all I ask for!

  33. cyrozap says:

    @Louis II
    I am Locust-us of Borg. You will be assimilated.

  34. FDP says:

    Some Japanese scientists had a remote controlled cockroach years ago (maybe 8-10 years ago). We are just playing catch-up in the cold war of creating zombie insects.

  35. oler says:

    Wow i diden’t had a clue the bug was real.
    that makes it twice as cool.
    one verry expensive bug though

  36. amp says:

    C’mon guys, 35 comments on this post and no one has welcomed our cyborg beetle overlords? Once they take over, you’ll all be punished.

  37. walt says:

    “This will lead to the development of medical systems that will significantly help humans”
    What?!

    “Gonna be cool when it makes crippled ppl walk.”
    Are you serious??

    “Imagine if there were effective artificial nerves to help paraplegics walk again or increasing the range of prosthetics”
    Lol wtf??

    did some of you miss the part about who is finding this project? the DOD (translated: us taxpayers). for those of you expecting medical miracles to come of this, you need to remind your self that it’s an Army project! they are not in the business of helping or healing anybody. quite the opposite. if some of their finding could possibly help the handicap, those aspects would be ignored. in fact, if this project doesn’t fulfill their ambitions of spying on and/or killing people then funding for this project will cease to exist.

    no good can come of this.

  38. Icefox says:

    Walt

    First off, just because it’s the dod doesn’t mean that they are trying to make weapons. It’s more likely that this somehow will play into moving information around on the battlefield. This kind of technology could possibly deliver necessary information to soldiers on the front lines that much faster and make them even more effective. I don’t think the dod is that closed minded that they would think that if it can’t kill someone, it’s not worth their time.

    While it’s fair to say that a good number of the people on here don’t know what they’re talking about (welcoming cyborg-bug overlords and whatnot), it’s really a fair assumption that this research is going to help people somehow.

  39. RJSC says:

    My first post was not quite so happy.
    Pacemakers and metal bones are good, but not anything that can control you.

    Just imagine if this is the first step of a secret project to control soldiers and/or civilians to eliminate the “loose cannons” that do not follow the chain of command blindly.

  40. Zem says:

    @ what the kitten
    Bug off

    This does seem awesome, but I want specifics. Any idea on a way to make this a diy? I want to make mice walk around behind me and carry my pens and “my dog ate my homework” would be actually true once
    heh

  41. MrWaffles says:

    I don’t actually see this helping us like some people claim it could. I see scaring implications….

  42. trapezoid says:

    @ andrew

    pain is a meaningless concept in plants as they have neither a nervous system or conscious thought, unless you consider yourself a philosopher.

  43. me_and_you says:

    What’s next ? Dogs ? Humans ?

  44. Mic says:

    Imagine guys there intel device could really help people tell where ambushes are without the chance of being sighted from the sky not to kill people or ya know maybe if we could get a small enough insect it could get inside of people and see whats going on without exploratory surgery you all need open minds

  45. Alpha says:

    So, this is what you do when you’re not slick enough to work with microrobotics.

  46. imperium2600 says:

    I really don’t see why this is so tragic for animal sympathizers. I mean really, once this beetle has served the country in war and has a long and decorated military background, he can run for senate and then when we eventually gets into the white house it will be the “Manchurian Candidate” all over again. (on a side note i just realized that sounds a lot like McCain)

    Let’s all hope my theory is wrong

  47. xyr says:

    Great. Now my country will have to sign that American cyborg beetles are exempt from our laws and we’ll have to buy a bunch of old and worn out cyborg bumblebees from Americans. Just f*cking great…

  48. louis ii says:

    lol @
    all of the jokes!

    Really some punny goodness going on here. :-D

  49. louis ii says:

    er… :-)

  50. JC says:

    off topic

    why exactly am i lame? (14m3)

    is one not allowed to ask questions and express one views?

    —i wonder if youv’e ever heard the saying
    keep your mouth shut unless you have something good to say

    thank you.

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