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Beetle With Tiny Computer Backpack Is World's Smallest Cyborg Insect


The "world's first cyborg insect": a darkling beetle with a tiny computer on its back.

Nanyang Technological University researchers have developed what they are calling the world's smallest cyborg insect.

Credit: Kelvin Chng

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed the world's smallest cyborg insect, which they can control to move in four directions at the click of a button.

The researchers attached a tiny computer to the back of a darkling beetle that measures only about 2.5 centimeters long and weighs 0.5 grams.

The team uses a remote control to send electrical pulses to the beetle's antennae through implanted silver wire electrodes; the pulses mimic those the insect would naturally feel when its antennae touch an object. Two 1.55-volt coin cell batteries can operate the computer continuously for up to eight hours, but the researchers plan to extend that time to three days using a biofuel cell, which can generate power using glucose in the insect itself.

The team also is developing sensors to detect carbon dioxide, temperature, and the vibration of heartbeats.

From Straits Times
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