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Researchers at the University of California have successfully hacked a giant flower beetle to be controlled remotely -

A scientist sends a wireless signal from the laptop to the beetle to start and then stop flight. The beetle, seen in the upper part of the frame, is tethered for practical purposes. The insect is attached to a clear plate, so that its flight pattern can be better observed. An oscilloscope shows the electrical signals as they are delivered: a short oscillating pulse triggers the animal to flap its wings, and it continues flapping until a short single pulse tells it to stop.
[…]
The beetle’s payload consists of an off-the-shelf microprocessor, a radio receiver, and a battery attached to a custom-printed circuit board, along with six electrodes implanted into the animals’ optic lobes and flight muscles. Flight commands are wirelessly sent to the beetle via a radio-frequency transmitter that’s controlled by a nearby laptop. Oscillating electrical pulses delivered to the beetle’s optic lobes trigger takeoff, while a single short pulse ceases flight. Signals sent to the left or right basilar flight muscles make the animal turn right or left, respectively.

Head over to Technology Review to see the video. [via Hack a Day]

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


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Comments

  1. Matt says:

    …until PETA shuts them down. :(

  2. sweavo says:

    I hate this stuff. Makes me want to stick electrodes up a scientist’s ass and give the controls to a cockroach.

  3. Colecoman1982 says:

    @sweavo: Though I can respect their rights to an opinion, I have never agreed with animal rights activists. I don’t believe that animals have rights or should be the targets of human compassion. Granted, I believe some animals (such as great apes, whales, dolphins, etc.) start to blur the lines due to their intelligence, and should be left alone because of that, but I believe that consuming animals is a natural part of being human (we wouldn’t be able to digest meat if it weren’t). I think that if you believe that animals should have rights then you, inevitably, end up in the position of having to build huge prisons in Africa to lock up all the lions for murder (we don’t let developmentally disabled people commit murder freely, so why should we allow lions to kill indiscriminately?). Obviously, I find that idea absurd.

    Having said that, however, I also don’t think animal cruelty should be permitted. I realize this might sound contradictory, but hear out my reasoning. I define animal cruelty as any act taken against an animal that causes suffering without a legitimate benefit. A factory farm worker kicking around chickens for fun, a person that mistreats a family pet, Horse/dog racing, etc. would all be examples of this (I don’t, really, consider pure entertainment a valid justification). I don’t look at this from the perspective of applying human compassion to the animal, but from the perspective of what those kinds of behavior say about the mental state/health of the person deriving enjoyment from them.

    Realize that this puts me in the position of condoning practices such as factory farming, eating cats/dogs, boiling cats in the process of skinning them for fur, etc. but means I would condemn someone who commits those last two acts upon an animal they’ve developed a “pet” type relationship with. Assuming they are, in fact, the most efficient manner to produce food/fur then I don’t have a problem with them. It would be hypocritical of me to agree with the slaughter of cows/pigs/chickens/etc. for my food by to have a problem with the killing of cats/dogs/etc. for similar industrial reasons.

    Back to the issue of the post, I see plenty of valid benefits to humanity from the research being done here. I don’t see anything to suggest that these scientists are doing this for the enjoyment factor much less that that is their primary motivation. I did, however, enjoy the irony of one of the commenters below the article wishing the researchers an enjoyable time in hell. The fact that hell is a Judeo-Christian concept and that all of the Judeo-Christian religions show their historical figures eating meat/sacrificing animals (such as in the case of Jesus multiplying fish for the crowd or the Apostles fishing) suggests that there is no religious justification for animal rights to be found in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

  4. counterpoints says:

    “I don’t believe that animals have rights or should be the targets of human compassion.”
    —-> You must be very proud of yourself. I bet your mother is too.

    “I believe some animals (such as great apes, whales, dolphins, etc.) start to blur the lines due to their intelligence, and should be left alone because of that”
    —-> How is this animal intelligence determined exactly? Animal IQ tests? Are you suggesting we only consume/abuse the dimwitted animals? (BTW, you have contradicted yourself in less than three sentences – nice.)

    “I believe that consuming animals is a natural part of being human (we wouldn’t be able to digest meat if it weren’t).”
    —–> Newsflash: Humans CANNOT digest meat. That is why we COOK it. Don’t believe me? Next time just order your steak raw and see how that goes…

    “I think that if you believe that animals should have rights then you, inevitably, end up in the position of having to build huge prisons in Africa to lock up all the lions for murder (we don’t let developmentally disabled people commit murder freely, so why should we allow lions to kill indiscriminately?). Obviously, I find that idea absurd.”
    —–> The thing that is obvious here is YOUR absurdity. Humans have a choice in whether or not they kill. Animals do not. Humans don’t need to consume/destroy animals to survive. Some animals do, and thus they are not killing “indiscriminately” at all.

    –>Also, most of your other arguments are worthless unless you DEFINE what a “legitimate benefit” is. You conveniently left that part out.

    “I see plenty of valid benefits to humanity from the research being done here.”
    — > You left out what those benefits are too.

    “I don’t see anything to suggest that these scientists are doing this for the enjoyment factor much less that that is their primary motivation.”
    —> So you’re saying its fine to abuse animals as long as you don’t really like it that much? Aren’t they gaining popularity for doing this? Do you think they enjoy the attention? I have met very few people who don’t enjoy (or do things for) attention.

    –> I missed the posts from folks wishing the ‘scientists’ an enjoyable time in hell. They were probably removed… but along those lines though I find it interesting that in Buddhism (a ‘religion’ in which there is no heaven or hell) animal rights are taken seriously….even without the need for heaven as reward. Odd huh?

    Colecoman1982, I pity you.

  5. Wetwired says:

    On the one hand, this sort of technology may have legitimate medical application, rewiring to account for nerve damage for example. On the other hand, I think you could certainly develop the technology to a point where you could force people to do anything you asked them by stimulation of pain/pleasure centers using circuitry burried in their heads. As with all technology, the benefits or abuse of it are dependant solely on the imagination and character of the persons who possess it.

  6. s1200 says:

    …hippies.

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