Feeds

Living brain in powerful robot body tech goes live

For moths

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.