Feeds

Living brain in powerful robot body tech goes live

For moths

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

In a development offering hope to slain hero cops everywhere, Arizona boffins have wired up sensors to a living brain, then connected the hookups to a machine body hugely more powerful than the brain's own.

The robotically controlled moth

The moth in its enhanced machine body.

We're not quite talking Robocop yet, however. Rather than using a brain from the shattered body of a courageous copper, Professor Charles Higgins and his colleagues (including the superbly named Vivek Pant) have chosen for the nonce to use the brain of a moth, still mounted in its moth body.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times:

Scientists have built a robot guided by the brain and eyes of a moth.

As the moth tracks the world around it, an electrode in its tiny brain captures faint electrical impulses that a computer translates into action.

The moth, immobilised inside a plastic tube, was mounted on a six inch tall wheeled robot.

It seems the "Robo-Moth" was exhibited this week at the annual shindig of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. The moth in question was a tobacco hornworm, chosen by Prof Higgins for the simple reason that his University has a whole bunch of them for other research. The tobacco hornworm moth devours crops and is regarded as a pest. It has a four-inch wingspan, apparently, and is often mistaken for a bird.

Or a small, hungry, crop-devouring robot, as we have here.

The professor has more ambitious plans, including the cybernetic enhancement of house flies and dragonflies. For the moment, the robots to be controlled by the insects are relatively non-threatening, apparently unarmed, unable to fly, and powered by nothing more puissant than PP3 batteries.

We just hope to God that Higgins, Pant, and the crew don't get in touch with the Pentagon and their various operations involving brain-chipped cyborg moths, robot helicopter gunships, and missile-firing droid planes which reap humans like corn.

You couldn't make it up. LA Times coverage here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?