Feeds

Living brain in powerful robot body tech goes live

For moths

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.