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The creation of a cyborg insect army has just taken a step closer to reality.

A research team at the University of California Berkeley recently announced that it has successfully implanted electrodes into a beetle allowing scientists to control the insect’s movements in flight. “We demonstrated the remote control of insects in free flight via an implantable radio-equipped miniature neural stimulating system,” the researchers reported in their new paper for Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience

The pronotum mounted system consisted of neural stimulators, muscular stimulators, a radio transceiver-equipped microcontroller, and a microbattery [see video].

The research, supported by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is part of a broader effort, called the HI-MEMS program, which has been looking specifically at different approaches to implanting micro-mechanical systems into insects in order to control their movements.

Eventually, the mind-controlled insects could be used to “serve as couriers to locations not easily accessible to humans or terrestrial robots,” they said.

From Wired News
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