Feeds

Living brain in powerful robot body tech goes live

For moths

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?