Radio Controlled Beetle Flight Footage

Earlier this year we were amazed when University of California researchers controlled a beetle via electrical implants. The video available at the time of the original report showed beetles tethered in place while electrical stimuli was applied via the chip. New video of free flight is has now been posted. Although the motion is rather sporadic, it is obvious that simple commands to start flight, stop flight, and turn left or right are having their intended effect. Check out this cyborg action after the break. Is DARPA one step closer to unleashing legions of insect warriors on unsuspecting masses?


[via Popular Science]

33 thoughts on “Radio Controlled Beetle Flight Footage

  1. gotta feel a tiny bit sorry for the little guys. My first thought was actually how many they probably have to go through. They usually don’t live really long in their adult stage and all that thrashing about indoors probably results in frequent broken wings.

    Then again, they are so freaking clumsy on their own we could probably only improve their flight.

  2. all this research/proof of concept will lead to human trials eventually, thats the ultimate goal right?
    Probably start being deployed in the army after tests have been done in institutes etc.

  3. So on first reading the article I kind of went “cool”, but I watched the video, and not normally someone who is put of by things such as seeing how my meat is killed and all that…I did feel a bit sorry for the beetle*…I mean no arduino, no twitter…whats a cybernetic beetle got to do round here to get a bit of web presence?

    *It was genuine, but then when I stopped watching it went away which helped me make a funny about it without crying…

  4. LAME! I could make a video of a tire rolling down a hill and write “stimulating left muscle” every time it veered left, and obviously the same for the right and claim to be controlling it. And if this IS legit, then it’s even lamer for being so incredibly useless. Just use robots already and stop playing with bugs. wtf! University of California = idiots.

  5. this is cruel. i’m just as much a tech fan as the next guy but there’s gotta be a better way than carving up living creatures. surely you don’t have to be a PETA card carrier to see that??

  6. alpha: it’s neuroscience, not just robotics.

    Patrick: yea, if we knew enough about how it all works to do that, we would. We’re learning the fundamentals right now, and these beetles have very simple (comparatively) systems.

    You know how nice it is to have modern medicine? Now, do you know what kind of horrors preceded it (by necessity)?

    As well Patrick. At what point does it become cruel? What about the trillions upon trillions of microorganisms we abuse all the time?

  7. This is stupid that people are putting money into this and why does the military always want stupid sci-fi shit and not go after REAL stuff or why government will spend time on useless research and not REAL research with NASA?
    don’t give a damn about the bug but I would like to see it give twitter updates of what commands it was being given!

  8. You’ve obviously missed all the previous work on this sort of thing where flies had their heads semi-seperated from their bodies, rotated 180 degrees and bonded back on to see if they got confused and flew left when they meant to go right…

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