Radio controlled 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.

Laser insect photography rig

[Marc] sent in this awesome insect photography rig. The camera is manually pre-focused and set for a 30 second exposure at ISO100. The aluminum cylinder in front of the lens is an external shutter mounted with a custom turned lens adapter. It’s used because the built in shutter is too slow for insect capture. The camera/shutter is triggered by a pair of lasers with photo detectors. When both beams are broken, the insect should be in front of the lens. A Garmin GPS provides position information that’s tagged on the image by the Nikon D200. A large photo of the rig is here, while a more detailed writeup on building it is here.

Update: It looks like we covered a previous version of this rig, but the old links are down and we didn’t have a shot of the setup. Oh, and I forgot to mention [Marc] new control box for running this rig.